What's in store for NYC taxis? Escape hybrids or Priuses?

The green future of the New York City taxi cab fleet has been in the news off and one since at least last May. That's when Mayor Bloomberg announced that the entire fleet would become hybridized by 2012. An article in Automotive News last week updates the story a bit by comparing possible next-generation cabs with the Ford Crown Victoria sedan. The Crown Vics have long been the staple cab in the Big Apple but are now considered to be too dirty for city use. AN spoke with NYC taxi commission officials who were in Detroit for the Auto Show and shopping for vehicles. As Commission Chairman Matthew Daus told Automotive News: "We're taking this as an opportunity to ask manufacturers to custom-build the utopian cab for us." What doest that cab look like? "Daus said such a cab would be reasonably priced, fuel efficient, accessible for passengers with disabilities and distinctively styled."

The trouble is that many (95 percent) of the cabbies like the Crown Vics. As CNW Marketing Research analyst Art Spinella told AN, "If Ford were to stay doing nothing but Crown Vics for taxis and upgrading them to some degree, maybe fitting a more fuel-efficient V-6 instead of a V-8 in it or hybridizing it, they could probably hold on to 70 to 75 percent of that market. But I'm not sure that they want to spend the money to do it."

Instead, the taxi officials are looking at the Ford Escape hybrids (which we've heard plenty about) and the Toyota Prius, which would only work if it were made larger and could hold more luggage, Spinella said.

[Source: Ryan Beene / Automotive News (subs req'd)]

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