Creative Commons by Ian Fuller
While the use of hybrids as taxis has met with mixed reviews in New York, they seem to be something of a hit in San Francisco. Its first 15 Ford Escape hybrids have all clocked about 300,000 miles on their odometers which, in the City by the Bay, means they must be retired from service. Introduced in February of 2005, it is estimated the hybrids saved their owners about $9,000 a year (that's $36,000 over their 4 year life!) One of the hybrid's biggest boosters is a driver and former president of the San Francisco Taxicab Commission, Paul Gillespie. He brags on their environmental friendliness by saying (cringe) that they have, "...the carbon footprint of an Ethiopian child".
The Escape hybrids also proved that their green tech is tough. The NiMH battery packs proved capable of far surpassing their 150,000 mile warranty and also showed how well regenerative braking saved on brake pad replacement. Yellow Cab, San Francisco's largest taxi fleet, has almost 100 hybrid hacks and is now waiting on 10 new Ford Fusion hybrids to arrive. They say the latest Ford hybrid will get even better results. Hal Mellegard, general manager of the company, says he is still looking for the perfect cab which he believes would have zero emissions and run on dirt. We humbly suggest the new Tesla Model S sedan charged with electricity from geothermal would pretty much fill that bill.
[Source: Los Angeles Times]