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Ford Escape Hybrid
Hybrid fever strikes New York City

Given the stop and go nature of traffic in New York City, the promise of increased fuel efficiency from hybrids is too good to pass up. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday on the "Today" show that every yellow cab will be a hybrid by the year 2012.

There are roughly 13,000 taxis roaming city streets (90 percent of which are gas guzzling Ford Crown Victorias). According to Bloomberg, 20 percent of the existing yellow cab fleet will be replaced each year until all are running on hybrid power. Currently, there are only 375 hybrid taxis on the road in NYC.

"There's an awful lot of taxicabs on the streets of New York City obviously, so it makes a real big difference," said Bloomberg. "These cars just sit there in traffic sometimes, belching fumes; this does a lot less. It's a lot better for all of us."

There are currently eight vehicles on the city's "approved" list when it comes to hybrid vehicles to be used as yellow cabs: the Ford Escape Hybrid; the Honda Accord Hybrid and Civic Hybrid; the Lexus RX400h; the Saturn Vue Green Line; and the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Camry Hybrid and Prius. As more manufacturers roll out fuel efficient hybrids, the number of possible candidates is sure to increase. Vehicles like the Saturn Aura Green Line and rumored Ford Fusion hybrid are likely to join the list.

Ford Crown Victorias are rated at 15 MPG in city driving. A Ford Escape Hybrid, however, is rated at 31 MPG in the city according to the new 2008 EPA estimates. Hybrids like the Camry and Prius are even more fuel efficient at 33 MPG and 48 MPG respectively.

The Ford Escape Hybrid has already seen extensive use in San Francisco. Taxi operators reported on their vehicles once the 100,000 mile mark was surpassed. According to the operators, fuel savings compared to the Crown Victoria were between $20 to $31 per shift. Air conditioning costs were also roughly half that of Crown Victorias. Another plus was that the brakes lasted twice as long due to the hybrid system's regenerative braking feature taking a load off the traditional braking system. Most importantly, there were no complaints of poor rear legroom from passengers.

Yahoo Inc. has already committed to donate 10 Ford Escape Hybrid taxis according to Bloomberg.

When all is said and done, the switch to a completely hybrid yellow cab fleet will save each taxi operator over $10,000 USD per year in fuel costs while also cutting total carbon emissions by 200,000 tons per year.



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RE: Probably not a bad move
By goku on 5/23/2007 9:44:08 AM , Rating: 2
nickle cadmium? Wth are you talking about? Who uses those anyways? It's either NiMh or li-ion, both things that are far more environmentally friendly.


RE: Probably not a bad move
By Spoelie on 5/23/2007 5:20:15 PM , Rating: 2
li-ion in a car is a baaaaad idea
even tho it has a higher energy density, and there is some experimentation with it, I'd prefer other technologies get priority. Read the wiki article on the disadvantages of li-ion


RE: Probably not a bad move
By dajeepster on 5/24/2007 12:03:42 PM , Rating: 2
yeah... just imagine if they get recalled... I can see it now, world comes to a hault because of the Li-ion batteries are recalled because of possible explosions when racing (there will always be street racing going on)...hmm.. and that is also assuming that every vehicle (highly unlikely cause technology is forever changing) is using li-ion (i wonder if they would be made by sony..)


RE: Probably not a bad move
By WCPMFUN on 5/23/2007 8:36:00 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
It's either NiMh or li-ion, both things that are far more environmentally friendly.


I do not know too much about specifically about lithium toxicity or lithium pollution issues.

I do know based on experience that NiMh batteries although better than NiCd or lead acid batteries are still no friend to the environment or the workers who process this material from mine to finished product.

Nickel is semi-toxic. The material can cause a wide array of problems if ingested or inhaled into the body. Medical bills from nickel poisoning add up quickly. In the U.S. these injuries would normally be covered under Workers Compensation. I am not sure how Canada (one of the leading nickel producers) deals with this issue. I presume their universal healthcare system foots the bill. The electrolytes can also be hazadous if improperly stored or disposed of.

There is also the disposal issue. I have not seen too many studies on the recycling rate of these batteries. I know of many places that accept lead acid batteries ... I believe Best Buy and Radioshack will both accept now accept NiCd and NiMh batteries now. At one point I know Radioshack only accepted NiCd though.

Anyways there are shed loads of scientific and industrial studies available online or easily accessible from your public or university library if you are interested in this subject.


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