November 15, 2014

Tesla Taxis

What do you think of when you hear the word "Taxi"?

The answer depends on where you live. New Yorkers think Ford Crown Victoria painted in that iconic yellow. (So iconic, no privately owned car comes in that colour. Which is a pity, because it would make for a badly needed break from the reds, black&whites and blues on American streets).

Photo by David R. Tribble

London has its own iconic taxi, the FX4 with the cavernous passenger compartment that has plenty of space for luggage, baby stroller or cello. London's hackney cabs have recently abandoned the traditional black garb, and now come arrayed in a bewildering plethora of advertising graphics. Some can be amusing, but personally I find them a blight on the streetscape.

Photo by Darren Hall

Mumbai's cabs (mostly Fiats) are a bit of everything: yellow on top, black on bottom, and adorned with advertising.

Photo by Bernard Gagnon

Taxis in Berlin tend to be either Volkswagen or Mercedes, tinted a pleasing beige. Dutch taxis are black Mercedes, sometimes with a discreet Taxi sign on top, all provided with the special blue licence plates. No advertising.

Germany and Holland are egalitarian places where public transport is excellent and used by just about everybody. Taxis are for business people and tourists. Not surprisingly, the largest number of Dutch taxis are deployed in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam corridor, which includes Schiphol airport.

From a well-appointed Mercedes it's really only a small step to another luxury car: the electric Tesla. So there is now a fleet of Model S Teslas servicing the airport. In a specious bit of greenwashing, Schiphol claims the Teslas help it be a greener airport - conveniently sweeping the megatonnes of carbon from its flights under the green rug.

Via gas2.org

Undoubtedly the three taxi companies running the Teslas enjoy hefty tax benefits from the electric cars, since Dutch vehicle taxes are kind to low-emission vehicles while being downright punishing on gas guzzlers. Inside, these taxis are equiped with 4G wireless service, so that the executive never needs to shed his electronic shackles.

The Dutch Tesla taxis made the news because there is a fleet of them. Meanwhile in Norway, where electric cars are extremely popular (and get their electricity from hydropower), Teslas have been used as taxis as well. Here is a Model S convertible seen at Gardermoen, Oslo's airport.

Photo by siggywinter

I'm not sure how useful a two-seater is as an airport taxi. You could pick up only a single passenger with not too much luggage. But I would become a Norwegian taxi driver just to drive this thing.



You may also like:
1. Carbon Tax as an Effective Tool to Reduce Cars' Emissions
2. Eight Ways to Catch the Train - None by Driving Your Car
3. How to Drive on the Wrong Side of the Road (and Live to Tell the Tale)


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