Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New York City's Taxi of Tomorrow Competition Would Worsen Fleet Fuel Economy

No matter which of the three options in the Taxi of Tomorrow is ultimately chosen to replace the existing fleet of yellow cabs throughout the city, they will ultimately result in a lower fleet fuel economy than the existing mix of hybrids and conventionally powered vehicles.

None of the three options, Karsan, Nissan, or Ford are hybrids, and while only the Ford has announced the fuel mileage on its option at 21 mpg, none are expected to rival the fuel economy of the Ford Escape that is in use more than any other hybrid in the taxi fleet and gets 34 mpg.

The competition, which was focused on getting a distinctive vehicle that provides greater comfort and wheelchair accessibility and visibility put fuel economy on the back burner. That's at the same time that the Bloomberg Administration was pushing to get taxi fleet owners to buy hybrids under a regulatory scheme that would have penalized owners who didn't buy hybrids. That scheme was shot down by the courts, but the competition didn't take hybrid vehicles into consideration for the final three.

The city will live with the consequences of this taxi competition for a generation to come, and the lower fuel economy will end up harming taxi fleet owners and drivers over the long run.

Indeed, this competition once again highlights the tradeoffs between fuel economy and comfort, durability, and fuel economy loses out to comfort and size.

No comments: