November 11, 2005


Ford unveils mini-fleet of hybrid NY taxis (Reuters, 11/11/05)

Ford Motor Co. on Thursday introduced a mini-fleet of hybrid taxicabs to serve New York City, part of its push to promote cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Initially, only six Ford Escape hybrids will enter New York's taxi fleet. But city officials said the entire fleet of about 13,000 vehicles may be converted to gas-electric hybrids within five years.

"Hybrids save our customers money at the pump, and they reduce America's dependence on foreign oil," Chief Executive Bill Ford said at an event to unveil the vehicles at a Ford dealership in Manhattan.

"We're headed toward a world where cars will be smarter, safer, and more fuel-efficient, like the hybrids," he said.

The Ford hybrid sport utility vehicle gets as much as 36 miles per gallon in city driving, double the mileage of the taxi fleet's current Ford Crown Victoria model. A test model drove more than 500 miles on one tank of gas in New York, the CEO said.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 11, 2005 1:51 PM

It'll be a good test of the hybrid's real-world durablity; taxidrivers can put >100k miles/year on their vehicles.

Posted by: Mike Earl at November 11, 2005 2:11 PM

Agreed. Vehicles that travel in a confined area like taxis and Buses would be the best initial test for these cars. Also the most obvious place to work to reduce emissions. Forcing someone in Wyoming to purchase a hybrid car doesn't make sense at this time.

Posted by: AWW at November 11, 2005 2:20 PM

Fuel efficiency for the new cabs is great, but can you hail one when it rains?

Posted by: Luciferous at November 11, 2005 3:02 PM

I thought we had on good authority everyone would be riding Segways.

Posted by: RC at November 11, 2005 3:19 PM

Wait a minute. Do I read this right - New York's 13,000 taxis are all from the same model car?

Posted by: pj at November 11, 2005 3:36 PM

No, but since the demise of the Checker cabs, the city has been looking for a replacement that allows passengers to have a little room in the back seat, and the SUV/Minivans have gained popularity in recent years.

(I opted for the Mercury version of the Escape a couple of months ago, minus the hybrid engine, because the highway driving I do wouldn't justify the additional $4,000 cost for the engine with enough savings in the near-term. The hybrids are more useful in urban settings, though given how much you're average NYC fleet cabbie beats up his vehicle, the hybrids had better be pretty durable to make their cost back).

Posted by: John at November 11, 2005 7:50 PM