As Tesla Model 3 makes its debut in New York City as a licensed yellow taxi, we can’t help but wonder: is this the future of the taxi industry?
Let’s start this article off with a resounding yes. Yes, Tesla is the future of the taxi industry.
Firstly, it’s a Tesla. That’s enough to attract attention, which the driver of this taxi says he understandably can’t avoid. Having a taxi like this attracts as much attention as a supercar.
All of the benefits of taking a Tesla taxi are magnified to a significant degree compared to a traditional New York City cab: Model 3, arguably the safest car on the road, keeps passengers (as well as the driver) safe with superior crash performance to the typical Nissan hatchback that makes up the modern day New York taxi scene, meaning it’s the car passengers would want to be in in the event of an accident. Pedestrians can also rest easy knowing there’s superior collision avoidance that could potentially save lives, as well as the lives of other drivers on the road. Then there’s the fact that Tesla’s are silent as a result of not having an engine, which contributes to a more relaxing passenger experience.
Passengers can feel good about taking a Tesla taxi, knowing there’s no emissions in an increasingly polluted city and a greatly lessened impact on the environment. Ultimately Model 3 was designed with a taxi network in mind, so it offers a relaxed ride with a best-in-class experience for everyone in the vehicle.
Best of all, the rates for taking a Tesla taxi are the same as any other taxi. So there’s no reason to not hail down a Tesla, if given the chance.
The problem is there aren’t enough of them, making a yellow Model 3 difficult to come by — someday we think that will change. The first Model 3 made its debut on October 30th, and it’s fully approved by the New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission so more can follow suit.
Drivers will have to get used to driving a fully electric vehicle, as some have been cited as not being able to deal with range anxiety. A select few went as far as giving up on the vehicle on their pilot shift. This will come with improved charging infrastructure, and more importantly driver education to make them feel comfortable behind the wheel of an electric vehicle.
Elon Musk has stated that Tesla will operate a taxi network as soon as later this year, which may seem optimistic; regardless, the Tesla robotaxi network is coming eventually. Will taxi drivers coexist with autonomous vehicles? We think they will, at least for the foreseeable future.
That’s the beauty of it for taxi companies that invest in a Tesla: they’re not only investing in an electric vehicle with significantly reduced operating costs, they’re investing in the future which includes the promise of Full Self-Driving on every Tesla sold today. In other words, a Tesla taxi can be easily converted into a fully-autonomous robotaxi in the future.
For now though, let’s embrace Tesla taking over the New York City taxi scene. It’s the only way forward for the industry.
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