According to SmartPlanet.com, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently called for cities with large numbers of taxis to play a role in cutting emissions. Speaking at a recent C40 conference in Hong Kong, Bloomberg called for the 25 member cities that collectively have oversight of more than a million cabs to consider developing electric taxi fleets. Bloomberg was recently elected chair of the C40 Climate Leadership Group, an association of major cities around the world committed to reducing carbon emissions and slowing climate change.
We’ve seen, I think again and again, how national governments have struggled, both at home and at the international stage, to take climate change actions,” Bloomberg said. “Together, we have to fill the vacuum of leadership ourselves.
According to SmartPlanet, San Francisco is already moving toward electric taxis. Better Place, a California-based electric- vehicle service provider, recently announced a three-year program to establish infrastructure for electric taxis between San Francisco and San Jose.
To collect as many fares as possible, cab drivers prefer to keep their cars moving. So the project entails four battery switch stations, where the EVs would pull into and swap their battery for a fully charged one. According to Better Place, the switch will take less time than a gasoline fill-up.
Last May, a similar project began in Tokyo, home to around 60,000 cabs. Obviously, Better Place would love to land a contract with New York City. But, the cab industry already took Bloomberg to court to fight his older ruling that taxi fleet owners replace their Ford Crown Victorias with hybrids in five years. Last year, a judge ruled in favor of taxi fleet owners and an An appeals Court upheld the decision over the summer.
Undaunted, Bloomberg will continue to push for electric taxis not only in New York, but also in other major cities around the world. His best hope is that major cities will cooperate in bringing the fleets online.
According to Better Place, electric taxis are the gateway to clean cities, because standard taxis are disproportionally responsible for harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Electrification of taxis could make a huge impact on air quality and oil consumption.
Madonna Gauding is a freelance writer, illustrator and book designer living in St. Louis. MO. She is the author of 10 books on a variety of "mind, body, spirit" topics.