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Tesla Model 3 as NYC taxicab is a budding success story


It was late last year when an NYC taxi fleet operator bought its first Tesla Model 3 yellow cab. The experiment was well-received both by the drivers and passengers and the company named Sally has added 4 more Model 3s to the fleet.

The addition of these new Tesla Model 3 cars to the existing fleet points towards a subtle disruption that’s sparked in NYC. The slow transition of taxi fleets into Teslas will ultimately push ICE car makers towards full-scale electrification.

While this sounds difficult but the initial success and popularity of the Tesla Model 3 as the NYC cab is the first step in the right direction. President Joe Biden’s big plans of converting U.S. transportation to electric are going to put Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) in the driver’s seat of this EV revolution.

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Four more Tesla Model 3 electric cars added to the NYC taxi fleet by United Taxi Management. Photo credits: Savas Tsitiridis via LinkedIn.

As most of the passengers taking a ride in the Tesla Model 3 taxi are new to Tesla cars, they face a bit of trouble opening the Model 3 doors because of the unique door handle design and function.

To solve this, the taxicab company Sally pasted stickers beside the Model 3 cab door handles to help the passengers easily get in the car (see image below).

To open the Tesla Model 3 or Model Y door handles, the user needs to push the wider side of the handle and grab & pull the popped out longer part.

Tesla Model 3 NYC taxicab door handle sticker tells passengers how to open the door.

In accordance with the COVID-19 situation, the Tesla Model 3 NYC yellow cabs front and rear compartments are separated. The passenger can pay for his ride by using the tablet-sized display screens and a credit card payment terminal (see photo below).

Rear LED display screens and payment terminal for the Tesla Model 3 NYC yellow cab. Credits: Sam Sheffer / YouTube (full video below).

Environmental Impact

According to the New York City government website, there are currently 13,587 taxicabs on the streets of the city. Most of these are internal combustion engine (ICE) cars that emit a significant amount of CO2 per mile.

For example, the Chevrolet Impala that is a big part of this fleet emits 411 grams of CO2 per mile (396 grams on E85 fuel). On the lower end, the CO2 emission of Chevy Malibu is rated at 181 grams per mile.

Just for a rough estimate, we can take the average CO2 emission of both these vehicles which is 296 grams per mile. Now multiplying it to 13,000 gives us 3,848,000 grams per mile of carbon dioxide, for simplification, this translates to 3.8 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per km of NYC taxis driven.

If only the taxi fleet is converted to Tesla or electric vehicles, the health of NYC residents will significantly improve, the environmental impact of this transition can be huge.

Related: Tesla and Target stores to expand Superchargers to 42 locations

Data sources: NYC yellow cab website, NHTSA

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Video: Riding in the NYC yellow taxicab


By Iqtidar Ali

Iqtidar has been writing about Tesla, Elon Musk, and EVs for more than 3 years on, many of his articles have been republished on CleanTechnica and InsideEVs, maintains a healthy relationship with the Tesla community across the Social Media sphere. You can reach him on Twitter @IqtidarAlii