Just over three years ago, DailyTech
brought you a story concerning New
York's efforts to "green" its taxi fleet. The plan,
according to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was to make the
city's 13,000 taxis hybrids by the year 2012.
According to the New York Times,
those plans are coming closer to reality due to Ford's
decision to close the Canadian plant which produces both the
Crown Victoria and its more upscale relative, the Lincoln Town Car.
In 2007, there were roughly 11,700 Crown Vic taxis in service within
NYC. Today, that number is down to around 8,200 vehicles.
Some taxis fleets have decided to make
the switch early to hybrid vehicles which explains the dwindling
number of Crown Vics on the road. Traveling the streets of NYC today,
you'll see Camry Hybrids (33 mpg city), Highlander Hybrids (27 mpg),
Hybrids (35 mpg), and Escape
Hybrids (34 mpg) ferrying people from place to place. For
comparison, the spacious Crown Vic gets an estimated 15 mpg in the
There's no question that the latest
round of hybrids absolutely crushe the Crown Vic in emissions and
fuel economy, but some aren't exactly thrilled with the smaller
hybrid alternatives. Many point to the vast amounts of legroom,
headroom, and the huge trunk in the Crown Vics as something that the
newer hybrids can't match. “Literally, I can’t get in. And I
would need a doctor to get out," said taxi fleet owner Kevin
Healy of the Volkswagen Jetta which is also used sparingly as a taxi.
In addition, the Crown Vic is built on
a heavy duty steel frame and is easily repairable, while hybrids have
expensive electric motors and battery packs to take into
Although Ford will be discontinuing its
Crown Vic for taxi service, the company is more than willing to get
feet buyers to adopt the Escape Hybrid or the Transit
Connect Van. While the Transit Connect cannot match the fuel
economy of the Escape Hybrid -- it only achieves 22 mpg in the city
-- it offers much more passenger/cargo room and has a high roof.
Just as the famous Checker cab had its
fun in the sun only to be put out to pasture, it's now the Crown
Vic's turn to pass the torch onto more fuel efficient vehicles.
“These cars are a facet of people’s everyday experience,” said
NYC taxi commissioner David Yassky. “Whatever takes their place
will have a real and tangible influence on the city’s aesthetic.”