Grist Chats With Hybrid Taxi Driver

We've written about hybrid taxis a few times (see this and this) and obviously we think they're a good idea. Of course, before any large-scale use (like in NYC, for example), a few logistic details need to be worked out, but no problem seems impossible to get over. Some evidence of that: Andrew Grant, the world's first hybrid-cab driver! Our friends at Grist have interviewed him and things seem to be going well for him. He bought his first Prius in 2000, and the experience was so positive that he bought the 2004 revised Prius when it came out.Compared to conventional taxis, his current 2004 Prius saves between $900 and $1,100 per month in fuel costs alone, and his repair bills -- thanks to automotive innovations such as regenerative braking, which reduces wear and tear on the brake pads -- have been cut by more than half. [...]

Yellow Cab, British Columbia's largest taxi operation, now counts more than 40 hybrids in its fleet of 210 cars. "We're currently [planning to convert] approximately 25 to 30 of our vehicles over a year," Palis tells me from his busy East Vancouver office, where phone lines buzz and drivers saunter in and out to shoot the breeze with their amiable boss. He says customers have, for the most part, been pleased with the ride: "These days, we tend to get two main reactions when they initially get in. They are surprised by the size of the interior -- trunk space, leg room, etc. -- and they are freaked out by the lack of noise." That disquieting quiet is a consequence of the vehicle switching over to its battery-operated electric engine when idling or in slow-moving traffic.

Read more over at Grist.

::Big Mellow Taxi