We've seen Tesla Model 3 yellow cabs in New York City (picture above), but not the Tesla Model Y. It seems that's about to change thanks to a pilot program to test battery-electric vehicles in NYC taxi-cab fleets, as well as efforts by Gravity Inc., a private transportation company that's focused on future innovations to improve passenger experiences.
The NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission approved the pilot program, and Gravity Inc. has plans to get involved in the initiative by testing a fleet of Model Y yellow cabs. However, upon the commission's official approval of the pilot program, it said the Tesla Model 3 is currently the only approved vehicle. Gravity pushed to get the Model Y approved.
According to Teslarati, Gravity has already worked with regulators, as well as corporations, utilities, real estate owners, and the state itself to allow the Model Y electric crossover into the pilot program. Gravity feels that the Model Y makes sense for use as a taxi due to its spacious cabin and innovative tech features. Matt Daus, Gravity Advisor and Regulatory Counsel, shared via Teslarati:
“By reimagining the legacy of the iconic yellow taxi, Gravity is bringing a new value to travel that the City needs. We wholeheartedly applaud the TLC and the commissioner for their forward-looking BEV pilot and look forward to being a big part of it.”
A press release issued by Gravity notes that all-electric cars with a zero-to-60-mph acceleration time of fewer than 4.4 seconds can now join the pilot program. This makes the Model Y Long Range eligible since its official time is 4.8 seconds. The Model 3 Long Range wouldn't be eligible with this rule, as it has a 4.2-second time, but the Standard Range Plus comes in at 5.3 seconds, and it's much more affordable.
Gravity CEO Moshe Cohen said this is about much more than just bringing EVs to the taxi industry. It's about the "taxis of the future and the charging spaces of the future." He went on to say that New York City's taxi fleet provides an opportunity to make major innovations in the segment, as well as work to improve public charging infrastructure. Moreover, it's a business model for the people, that's "focused on health, safety, and the passenger experience."