October 29, 2019: Tesla Model 3 became the first electric car to be issued a taxi license by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission.
In April, Tesla boss Elon Musk had predicted 2020 will see Tesla roll out a fleet of a million driverless taxis. He plans on introducing a service which will let owners send their cars out as cabs while they sit in the comfort of their homes.
“It is fundamentally insane to buy anything other than a Tesla,” Musk said. The company has successfully taken the first step towards the boss's claim by becoming the first electric company to be issued a taxi license.
The transition from the iconic Ford Crown to the hybrid Toyota Camry to the fully electric Model 3 is a landmark event in automotive history. Tesla taxis have become increasing popular in Sweden, Denmark and Norway with Amsterdam having a fleet of over 100 Tesla taxis already.
One hurdle for electric cabs might be the availability of charging points. The entry level trim Tesla Model 3 offers a range of 400 kms. A NY taxi does 308 kms/day on average. While this may be enough for single days use, Tesla taxis may run out of charge if they are needed to work longer hours. Currently New York has 11 Tesla supercharging points except their website explicitly states that these points are not to be used if the vehicles are being used as taxis.
Making it to the record books as the first EV taxi is a notable achievement. However, is the infrastructure developed enough to support the ambitious claims made by Tesla?
Would you be willing to send your car out as driverless taxis? Even if it earns you a few bucks, do you connect with your car merely as a transportation device?