The Ford Mustang Mach-E is hitting the streets of New York Metropolis as the newest electrical automobile to affix the ranks of the town’s iconic yellow taxi fleet.
The Mustang Mach-E, with its contemporary coat of Rally Yellow paint and basic taxi iconography, is being operated by Gravity, a startup targeted on EV fleets and charging infrastructure. That is the primary time that Ford’s new, mass-market EV is being deployed as a taxi. But it surely gained’t be the final — Gravity says it hopes to ultimately function a fleet of fifty electrical automobiles comprised of each Mustang Mach-Es and Tesla Mannequin Ys.
“I feel the Mustang and the Mannequin Y are form of like the perfect taxi automobiles which can be out there right now,” Moshe Cohen, founder and CEO of Gravity, advised The Verge.
Gravity isn’t the primary firm to deploy EVs as taxis. Again in 2019, the town’s Taxi and Limousine Fee authorized the Tesla Mannequin 3 as the primary EV eligible to change into a yellow taxi. A yr later, the first Model 3 was spotted in the city. (The Verge alum Sam Sheffer took a ride late final yr.) And earlier this yr, moped sharing firm Revel introduced a plan to launch 50 Tesla Mannequin Ys as a for-hire automobile fleet in Manhattan — though the city later blocked that plan. (The corporate eventually won approval.)
Gravity goes a distinct route by integrating its automobiles into the town’s regulated fleet of yellow cabs. The automobiles are approved to be used as taxis below an EV pilot program adopted by the TLC earlier this yr. However to take action, Gravity might want to lease a taxi medallion, which is a allow issued by the town to permit folks to personal and function cabs. The corporate is licensed as a taxi agent, which means it’s approved to lease medallions. The Mustang Mach-E has gone via TLC approvals and inspections, however Cohen mentioned there’ll seemingly be extra options to roll out that may require future approval.
Cohen mentioned that Gravity has put in an “synthetic intelligence digicam” that tracks the motive force’s face to forestall distraction. The corporate can be monitoring the automobile’s pace and different driving maneuvers to make sure drivers are working safely.
EV charging infrastructure might be exhausting to search out in New York Metropolis, however Gravity operates its personal charging station out of a parking storage in Midtown Manhattan. The corporate plans on putting in extra chargers sooner or later, Cohen mentioned, together with fast-chargers able to speeds of as much as 350 kW.
Within the US, extra taxi operators are integrating EVs into their fleet, inspired by the price financial savings and advertising potential. Rental automobile corporations are additionally getting in on the motion, with Hertz just lately inserting a 100,000-car order with Tesla. (The information of the order despatched shares in each corporations hovering, pushing Tesla’s valuation over $1 trillion for the primary time.)