Arlington Officials Recommend Denying 40 Nissan LEAF Taxi Cab Bid. EVs Not Ready

NOV 8 2012 BY STAFF 13

Last month, the Electric Vehicle Taxicab Company (or EV Taxicabs) said it is looking to launch the first all-electric fleet in the US in Arlington County.  This fleet would consist soley of 40 Nissan LEAFs, fully equipped with wireless internet in the backseats (via iPads), and as such would allow the riders to pay with a credit card via the system. (a requirement for new cabs in the area)

Matt Kattak (founder of EV Taxicabs) told the Washington Examiner, “Now is the time to be more technologically advanced.  No one should be going around asking different cabs if they take credit cards.”

As always, anything new needs legislative approval, and the addition of 40 cab licenses only adds to drama.   The Artington County Board will meet later this month to decide whether to add the electric fleet to the 765 taxis already operating in the county.

Now Arlington officials are attempting to shoot down the bid as best they can ahead of the meeting, and are asking the board to deny the fleet access to D.C. roads.

The Arlington Transportation Committee voted 5-0 to advise the board to deny the recommendation from the County Manager to allow the 40 car electric fleet to go into operation.  The committee says that the technologies behind EVs are not yet advanced enough to guarantee the LEAFs will be able to make it to their final destinations before their batteries die, leaving passengers stranded throughout the county.

EV Taxicabs, in their bid to license their electric fleet had anticipated this reaction, and had told the Board that if approved they would install fifty Level 2 chargers and six DC fast chargers (through Aerovironment) around the county to ensure adequate coverage for their 73 mile (EPA) mile electric cabs.

A Similar Fleet Of Nissan LEAF Taxi Cabs Currently Operates In Amsterdam Through TAXI E

While we are not covering the beat by any stretch in this county, it seems to us like there is a lot of pettiness going on, and perhaps a reluctance to let a large “carbon neutral” taxi company move into a traditional gas marketplace.

After all, if we were taking a cab, you can bet we would call the emission free, wireless internet, credit card taking, brand new vehicle, all-electric LEAF taxi cab company before picking up the phone for an old and busted Crown Victoria to come pick us up.

And we are betting a lot of other people would too.

Maybe someone should tell the officials in Arlington about the dutch taxi cab company TAXI E that employs 12 LEAFs, and logged 250,000 km (155,000 miles) in the first six months without a single person being stranded. (Groen7-google translate from dutch)

EV Taxicabs
The Washington Examiner

Categories: Nissan


Leave a Reply

13 Comments on "Arlington Officials Recommend Denying 40 Nissan LEAF Taxi Cab Bid. EVs Not Ready"

newest oldest most voted

Sounds like Nissan needs to chime in on this issue/discrimination.


I think the sensible approach would be to let the EV taxi fleet operate, and if they fail to meet service requirements (for example, by stranding customers) then their license can be revoked.

Range anxiety for a single electric vehicle would be a reasonable consideration. But having a centrally dispatched system of cabs should make it possible to carry someone twice the range of a single cab by transferring riders at the charging stations if necessary.

sounds like the board is getting money under the table from the other cab fleets.

Perhaps it is the location or situation where they have many short trips with long waits but I don’t get how “fifty Level 2 chargers” help taxi’s as seems like it is just too slow. Something like 5 EV miles per half hour on 3.3 kW (even doubling that for 6.6 does not seem sufficient). I’m confused.

If each of the fifty charging stations were 10 miles apart the cabs could service a 500 mile point to point range with no problems. They could keep cabs charging at these stations each 10 miles apart and dispatch the closest cab to the pick-up. This would very likely work in Manhattan NY.


If the Leaf would always get 100 miles range with every charge in all weather conditions, somehow not void Nissan’s battery warranty, figure-out what land to use to install and pay for chargers and decide who can use them and have the answers to any other questions, then why not? I think Better Place would be a better model for this business or using the Tesla model X with the medium sized battery. Of course the model X isn’t available yet, but if and when it is, I think people would love being transported in it JMO. Hmm, anyone want to start a Tesla Limo service? For Today; I think the Toyota Prius V makes the most business sense for a Taxi service in the Eco category, for now…

Good post turbo. Sorry it got caught up in our filter. (It doesn’t like more than three links in a post)

Perhaps they want to keep up the dead soldier tourism fostered by our dependence on foreign oil.


The proposed fleet is supported by 50 Level II & 6 Level III DC Quick chargers. Arlington County is a pretty small place with a radius of around 26 miles. Most of the trips are no longer then 10 miles.

These people will be putting a lot of people out of business within a few year if approved to operate. Bye Bye gas stations 🙂 , lets all buy EVs.