There is no way of getting around it – with our growing demand for sustainable alternatives to transportation and food among other things, we are changing into a more environmentally-aware society. The rapidly growing technology industry allows us to make significant changes in the way we make use of our resources and make what we once thought impossible a reality. We are living in a time where a car has been sent into space! Suddenly, the chance of you entering a taxi powered by electric motors does not seem so impossible anymore, does it? Some loyal SIXT ride customers have already had the privilege of experiencing this phenomenon.
Electric Motors For Everyday Use
Anyone that has seen or heard the term ‘electric cars’ will most likely connect it to one particular person; Elon Musk. His company, Tesla Inc., is known for its first successful mass production of stylish electric vehicles with all kinds of handy gadgets. Many other car manufacturers are now able to fulfill the wider audience’s sustainable transportation needs. Trading in fossil fuels for electric drivetrains on cars currently might be one of the most significant contributions towards making our life on planet earth more sustainable.
Throughout the last couple of years, tests have been run in various cities worldwide to see how these electric engines hold up in reality, particularly those that constantly have to perform most of the day, every day. Think not just of public buses running on electric motors, but also of taxis and electric vehicles used for hailing apps. We have witnessed massive progression in the action radius of the vehicle, allowing taxis to transport you over longer distances without the fear that you will get stranded in the middle of nowhere. Plus, the speed of charging a battery has already vastly improved in comparison to the prototypes. Most of the new batteries have the powercharge function, which can charge up to 80% of the vehicle’s battery within 30 minutes to an hour. Electric cars are known to have quite the power output, making them very speedy and agile in the busy streets of the city center. And, most importantly, the car itself has zero emission!
The Supersonic Sound Of Silence
Some European cities have fully operational electric taxis. In Amsterdam, you can enjoy the freedom of picking cars like the Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S and X, or even a minivan like the Nissan NV200. The idea of the London Cab is being reimagined too. You can find the updated, electric version driving around the city increasingly more often – a healthy mix of tradition and new technology. One of the most progressive countries, Norway is aiming at one-third of all vehicles on the road being electric by the end of 2018. Governments are giving massive subsidiaries for everyone switching to electric vehicles in the hopes of boosting the electric car market.
Since August this year, luxury manufacturer Jaguar has launched its new I-Pace crossover car as new electric taxis. In partnership with Münchner Taxi Zentrum (Munich Taxi Center), 10 I-Pace cars can be used for getting you from A to B. A very bold and clever move from Jaguar to do this in the hometown of rival BMW, which is known for its two well-selling electric models; the i3 and i8. As the CEO of Jaguar Land Rover states: “We want to invite people to drive electric, but also drive Jaguar”. Not only is introducing the I-Pace in Munich a way to target the general dominance of Mercedes taxis in Munich (and Germany in general), it also contributes to a cleaner air and environment. Munich is known to have a higher level of air pollution in comparison to any other German city due to its diesel vehicles.
In April of 2013, a large-scale pilot program was launched in New York City and lasted one year. A bunch of Nissan Leafs is set to test drive as ‘the new face of NY cabs’. Especially in a high-paced metropole such as New York City, which is crawling with cars and taxis on every corner of each street every hour of the day, switching to electric cars will have a great and positive influence on the air quality and therefore general state of people’s health, since the carbon footprint is reduced. In 2015, another taxi company ran a similar test with both the Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf and also plug-in Kia Souls.
Many customers describe the electric taxi service as ‘odd’, ‘very futuristic’ and ‘different from what you are used to with regular taxis’. The low humming sound coming from the electric motor is often described as like ‘flying in a spaceship’, which would be perfect for allowing taxi customers to focus on reading the newspaper or working from their laptop.
Many car manufacturers will surely follow in having their electric cars available as an electric taxi, especially as a large number of automotive manufacturers are introducing at least one electric model in their fleet. And so the supersonic sound of silence is spreading fast globally.
Are Electric Taxis Really That New?
But are electric taxis that much of a new phenomenon? Fun fact: the origins of the electric taxi actually goes back all the way to 1894, when the first successful electric carriage (as claimed by its creators) did its duty; the Electrobat. The Electrobat was built by Morris & Salom Electric Carriage and Wagon company in the United States as an alternative to the horse-drawn taxi carriages. The electric motor of the Electrobat made it possible to reach 20 mph / (32 km/h) and had an action radius of about 40km; pretty impressive numbers for that time.
Unfortunately, the Electrobat did not survive due to poor maintenance which caused the taxis to malfunction. The production of the batteries also could not keep up with demand, so, after about 10 years, the production of the Electrobat was seized. Throughout the last century, various manufacturers such as Porsche and Volkswagen have had their take on a possible mass-produce electric vehicle, but the idea never really caught on. With the ever-changing landscape of technology, a new era has dawned upon us.
The Global Takeover Is Buzzing
It is safe to say the electric humming is soon going to be heard in a taxi near you! There are plans on a global level to introduce more electric vehicles. Soon we will see this as an everyday thing just like petrol-driven cars – in many cities this is already the case. This is not just a buzz… This is the future!