As part of New York City’s Taxi of Tomorrow program, next month Nissan will be working with the city and taxi owners on a pilot program to study the use of electric vehicles as taxis.
Nissan will provide six fully-electric LEAFs and charging stations at no cost to taxi owners or the city to test the electrified taxi fleet.
These cars will be put into normal taxi service (with existing taxicab medallions) and allow Nissan, the city, the taxi industry, and riders to see how electric vehicles work as taxis.
Each fleet participant will receive two LEAF vehicles to use with one medallion. Each LEAF will only be used during a single shift, so while one vehicle is in service, the other will be charging to maintain fleet operating time.
Nissan told participants at the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission that the distance they drive on a single charge will depend on several factors including: weather, accessories, and driving habits.
Nissan told drivers, “This means that you will need to stop mid-shift to recharge the battery, and depending on the charging station this can take anywhere from fifteen to several hours.”
Depending on conditions, the LEAF can have a driving range of between 62 to 138 miles on a single charge.
To find a charging station, Nissan said that every LEAF comes equipped with a technology called CARWINGS, which is an in-car telematics system that will show information including the battery power and charging stations. It will also allow the driver to download a charge point app that will show nationwide charging stations.
There are a number of charging stations around New York City, and Nissan also told drivers that it would install charging stations in the fleet garages and in the homes of the drivers.
Nissan said that starting from an empty battery, it can take about 20 hours using a standard 110-120 volt socket; about seven hours using a 208-240 volt socket; and about 30 minutes at a 480 volt quick-charging socket. A480 volt quick charging system can provide an 80 percent charge in under 30 minutes.
In terms of driver safety, limited passenger space and vehicle size will require that the vehicles not have partitions. Instead, a camera-recording system will be installed.
Nissan also told the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission, “We have worked to plan for ‘what ifs,’ but there most likely will be bumps in the road. We want this program to be a success and hope that it will lead to broader electric-vehicle applications for the taxi industry. Nissan will provide a dedicated service team to best deal with any problems during the trial.”
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