During the recent AltWheels Festival in Boston, Mayor Tom Menino announce a new hybrid taxi initiative for the city. A new Toyota Camry hybrid owned by the Boston Cab Association is now roaming the streets of Boston. Taxis are an ideal application for hybrid vehicles because the bulk of their use is in crowded urban environments with a lot of stop and go driving. Most of the the benefit of a hybrid comes in these conditions where the repeated decelerations can be used for regenerative braking to charge the battery. If a vehicle is used mostly for steady state driving on a highway, it won't be able to go very far on the batteries and won't see any real benefit from being a hybrid. A taxi can keep it's batteries charged and can accelerate on the batteries most of the time. In addition to the Camry, Boston CleanAir Cabs program has also approved the Escape hybrid and the CNG Crown Victoria for use as cabs in the city. MassPort, which operates Logan Airport, is also a partner in the program and will be charging reduced access fees and giving queuing preference to the the clean air cabs.
[Source: City of Boston via GreenCarCongress]