Taxis Go Electric California Style with Project Better Place
Back in October I was on The Green Living Guy book tour, which included all of my books in the Green Guru Guides series. I went to Pennsylvania, California and New Jersey (for starters). However, I was doing business with my sponsors A Lot To Say, Inc. for the trip, and the Stanich sisters (who own the company) insisted I go to San Francisco since I was in the area. When I got there, I was so impressed with the electric trolleys all over the place that I called the Mayor’s Office (in San Francisco) to say “Hey, get some questions answered about emission reductions and energy savings for the city since they use electric trolleys.” Days before an event with Project Better Place, they asked if I was going to be in town. I wasn’t, but this is the dish: they’ve gone electric with their taxis.
Better Place, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission plus:
- Taxi operators and car sharing programs: Yellow Cab Cooperative, Yellow Checker Cab Inc.;
- Regional and state agencies: Bay Area Air Quality Management District;
- Consumer and EV organizations: Plug-in America, AAA Northern California;
- Leading regional business/community organizations: Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Bay Area Council, Bay Area Climate Collaborative, Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network, and others; and
- San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
ALL teamed up for an electric taxi program with the cities of San Francisco and San Jose.
Taxis are all over the places so they can help the mass market get acclimated with the technology and build these battery swap out stations (Better Place’s main concept) along the San Francisco to San Jose corridor.
Can San Francisco taxis really make a difference?
According to a press release from Better Place,
While gas-powered taxis are fewer in number than personal cars, these high-mileage vehicles are disproportionally responsible for harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) and other tailpipe emissions, so electrification of this fleet is essential to making a real impact on air quality and oil consumption. Since taxis drive nearly continuously, they require instant charge of their battery to maintain quality of service and continue serving the public. Given the taxi business, waiting three to four hours for standard charge is not an option. Battery switch is the only option that allows the driver to recharge in less time than it takes to refuel, the means of range extension for today’s gas-powered taxis.
According to Better Place, they believe they are on schedule for for commercial launch in Australia, Israel and Denmark this year. We’ll see but things look interested for Shai Agassi, President of Project Better Place. I say build your own electric vehicle. He is doing it!!
Image credit: Better Place