73°Mostly Cloudy

Transportation Commission Recommends Against All-Electric Cabs

by ARLnow.com November 5, 2012 at 9:00 am 14,438 89 Comments

Arlington County’s Transportation Commission says an all-electric cab fleet is a good idea whose time hasn’t come quite yet. On Thursday the advisory body voted against County Manager Barbara Donnellan’s recommendation that the County Board grant operating licenses to a fleet of 40 electric taxicabs.

While the commission was supportive of the idea of more environmentally-friendly cabs in Arlington, it expressed doubts that the proposal — from Arlington-based startup EV Taxicabs — was feasible.

The company is proposing a taxi fleet of Nissan Leaf electric vehicles, each equipped with 4G WiFi hotspots and iPads for passenger use, plus a network of publicly-accessible electric vehicle chargers around Arlington. A commission member said it’s a good idea in theory, but in practice electric cabs — which would have a range of 60 to 105 miles on a single charge — could present a problem for passengers and drivers.

“The range offered by the Nissan Leaf simply doesn’t seem to be enough to effectively use it as a taxi… especially when you factor in runs to Dulles Airport, etc.” commission member Chris Slatt told ARLnow.com. “It’s one thing if your drivers has to stop for 3 minutes to put gas in their cab because you asked to be taken on a very long trip — it is quite another if your driver has to drive 5 miles across town and charge for 30 minutes for that same reason.”

Slatt said the commission was also “unconvinced” that EV Taxicabs could install electric vehicle chargers at apartment buildings, where many cab drivers live. Such chargers would allow drivers to charge their cabs overnight. The company also proposed installing fast “Level 3” chargers, but Nissan warns that fast charging could reduce the life of the car batteries to just a year or two — an expensive proposition for cab drivers, who would likely have to foot the bill for the replacement battery.

“EVs simply can’t match hybrids or standard cabs at this point when it comes to ‘getting people to their destination’ which is the whole point of a taxi,”  Slatt said. “Hopefully by the next time taxi certificates come around EVs will have matured to the point where our existing companies will be moving to them without us even needing to bring in a new company.”

In place of the electric cabs, Slatt said the commission recommended awarding additional operating licenses to EnviroCab, an all-hybrid cab company which currently has 50 licenses in Arlington, and to Friendly Cab, which has 27 traditional cabs and 7 hybrid cabs. The additional licenses would allow Friendly to begin dispatch service and would allow EnviroCab to reduce wait times during peak taxi demand period, Slatt said.

(EnviroCab recently announced plans to add one all-electric cab to its existing hybrid fleet.)

The County Board is set to consider the recommendations of Donnellan and the Transportation Commission at its Nov. 17 meeting.

  • Government overstep

    This is a classic case of the advisory committee not understanding its role in the process. It is not your duty to solve these problems. Let the small business owner succeed or fail on their own. If the cabs can’t make it out to Dulles people won’t call them to go to the airport. All the problems mentioned will be taken care of by the free market. Boo to the Transportation Commission.

    • Ben

      Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      Arlnow – any history of Envirocab/Friendly donating to any of the Transportation Commission members? A little fishy they passed up on a upstart and instead gave the licenses to a incumbent….

      • drax

        Transportation Commission members don’t run for office, they are appointed. They don’t have campaigns. Therefore you can’t “donate” to them. Not legally anyway.

    • drax

      As long as cabs are regulated, it’s exactly what they should be doing. Regulating cabs to make sure they serve the public.

      The alternative is to simply let anyone have any cab business they want. Maybe that’s the better way. But as long as one company is regulated, they all must be.

      • Suburban Not Urban

        Yea, but placing their own judgement above that of the market is the worst of command and control economics. Set a standard, if the company thinks they can meet it let them try. If the results say that they failed, then pull the licenses.

        • drax

          If they are reasonably sure you can’t meet the standard, you don’t get the license in the first place. Otherwise there would be no need for licensing.

        • Josh S

          Yeah, I wouldn’t trust a start-up to simply declare – oh, yeah, sure, we can meet that standard. Of course they’ll say they can. In the meantime, someone else who actually could meet the standard is left out of luck.

        • redstang423

          This is not a free market, so the same logic doesn’t apply. There are a limited number of licenses available, and public demand is exceeding current supply. Since there are a limited number of additional licenses available, the regulating body SHOULD determine the feasibility of a company. If the company fails, others don’t immediately fill the void. We go back to supply exceeding demand until the next round of licenses will be awarded.

      • WeiQiang

        I think this article comes down to the Commission’s defintion of the word “feasible”. Do the “doubts” come from some safety issues? … a fleet reliability issue? Beyond some doubt as to whether EV can provide the services they offer consistently and/or safely, I don’t get it with this limited amount of info. Just like the FAA, oversight is necessary … but just like the FAA and the airlines, there is a wide spectrum of service offerings that the market will decide on.

      • Government overstep

        Um, no Drax. The transportation commission is not in charge of regulating cabs. Nor are they in charge of evaluating business models which is what they have done in this instance. It doesn’t really matter the County Board is going to follow Donellan’s recommendation any way.

        • drax

          The Board is in charge of regulating cabs, and the commission makes reccommendations. The Board does indeed consider business models when evaluating cab license applications.

    • Not Me

      Excellent point!

    • emanon

      All the transportation advisory committee has done is advise. The Board still has the final say. Assuming there are only so many licenses to go around, they have to look at the viability of the companies who apply for them and the service they can provide. It’s not a lot different than selecting the textbooks used in schools or hiring the contractors who collect our trash. You would not pick a trash collection company if all they had were a bunch of pickup trucks and tell them to “sink or swim”. Of course, your question or overstep issue may be with why the county is doling out taxicab operating licenses to begin with.

      • Chris Slatt

        When companies apply for ~6x the # of certificates that you think should be issued you’ve got to evaluate them on some criteria.

        • SomeGuy

          How often is the licensing/certificate process revisited?

          • Chris Slatt

            Every 2 years. In odd years fares are looked at, in even years the # of certificates is considered.

    • Disagree with Government Overstep. The Transportation Commission was dead on in their assessment of the limitations of the electric cabs. The hybrid cabs are working very well and I support extending their contract. Well done Arlington Transportation Commission.

    • redstang423

      But taxis do not operate under a free market. There’s a set number of licenses available. If Arlington County realizes the citizens have a need for additional licenses (which in this case, they have), they ought to pick a viable company. The free market will not be available to simply take over the licenses immediately as one business fails or isn’t as well likely. Taxi companies also have no way to dictate what rates are charged, again preventing free market forces from working. Assessing the viability of a company that would receive awards for a limited number of licenses in the market should absolutely be the responsibility of the governing body.

      Whether or not the taxi market itself should be regulated is another, separate discussion.

      • Thes

        Very well put.

    • Chris Slatt

      Taxi service is not a functioning free market and until conditions change to the point where it can be deregulated and start to function that way, it is government’s job to make sure that the taxi that pulls up when you throw your hand up in the air on the street corner can get you where you are going and charge you a known, reasonable rate to get there.

      • drax

        Cabs could post their rates clearly and let their customers decide.

      • Government overstep

        Yes, but it is not your, the transportation commission’s, job to say that they can’t get to the destination because they are electric. Which is what you did.

        • Chris Slatt

          Then whose is it? Whose job is it to make it so when I’m standing out in the rain for a cab to Loudon that when a taxi comes up the driver doesn’t say “I’m sorry, I can’t take you there I don’t have enough charge in my car. Well I can take you there, but we’ll need to drive over 5 miles out of your way and you’ll need to sit with me in the taxi while it charges for 30 minutes before we can continue”

          And incidentally, the economics of the taxi industry make it so the Taxi Companies don’t care one iota about customer service. They treat all of their drivers as independent contractors and charge them “stand dues” and let them keep all of their fares. This means if you’ve managed to hire a full set of drivers, you’re making as much money as you will ever make as a taxi company (unless you raise your stand dues). Whether the drivers are able to carry 5 fares or 50 doesn’t matter to you.

          • Government overstep

            It is the County Boards job, and it is the job of the market place. It is not the job of the Transportation Commission to pick winners and losers based on loosely defined, if at all, opinions that change with every new commission. I can not fine any codified information on the Arlington County website about how these decisions are made. It is not your job to do what you did. It is a clear overstep, which is why the County Board will follow Ms. Donellan’s recommendation. A sound recommendation that is not as arbitrary as the TC’s.

          • Chris Slatt

            Here’s the Taxicab ordinance:

            You’ll see that the ordinance specifically requires the Transportation Commission to make a recommendation in this matter.

          • Government overstep

            I did not mean the county ordinance. I meant there are no codified rules that I could find governing the transportation commissions rules for making a recommendation. It is an arbitrary decision with no transparency or rules that I could see. It is not fair to the business owner.

          • mike.burns

            I can understand The decision on recommending EV but wouldn’t it have made sense to inject Arlington County’s Taxi Market with some Competition, By picking one of the other start ups that had applied instead of recommending current companies.. Seems to me that The TC showed favoritism towards old companies exm. “Enviro” which will not help improve taxi service but actually hurt the industry as the quality of service will not improve because no new competition is being added

    • Voter


  • kj

    Score another one for the Red Top Mafia!

    • drax

      Right, because Red Top was sooo successful in stopping Envirocab.

  • Sam the Cat

    What were they thinking? All electric taxi’s are the future. Research has shown they are not subject to random flipping. Of the 90 or so all electric vehicles in Arlington County, none have flipped – yet.

    • Your Mom

      Couldn’t be happier with the county’s decision. Terrible time to start this company.

  • 1234

    First poster is dead on — neither the Advisory Committee nor the Board are supposed to be in the business of validating private sector business models.

    • drax

      Yes, that’s exactly what they are supposed to do. It’s part of regulating cabs.

      What you are really saying is they shouldn’t regulate cabs at all.

      • 1234

        No, that’s not at all what I’m saying. Saying that they are “unconvinced” that the applicant will install the chargers at places that the commission wants them to be installed isn’t “regulation.” The commission felt that the applicants infrastructure would meet some sort of threshold that the commission wanted them to meet and therefore denied them while take a passing swing at the technology behind electric vehicles.

        If one applies for a business permit to open a yogurt shop in clarendon, does the county approve or deny the permit based on the flavor of the yogurt?

        • drax

          Selling yogurt is not regulated. Businesses are, but not the nature of their businesses – you can sell whatever you want in your store. Cabs are different though – the entire business is regulated. You must have a license specifically to operate a ca. And part of that license is how you do business and the services you provide and whether you will be able to do a good job. So yes, it set a threshold. That’s how it works with cabs. That’s how they are supposed to do it with cabs.

          Your problem is with licensing of cabs in the first place.

        • redstang423

          This case is different. To try to align this scenario to your yogurt analogy, it would be like saying the yogurt business is a regulated business where there’s a limit on the numer of flavors for sale, and Arlington demand has currently exceeded supply of yogurt. All yogurt machines are at capacity, and the yogurt stores can’t increase prices to get supply and demand to meet. Arlington is giving out one single additional license to any company to sell one more flavor of yogurt in order to meet the demand. If a new company comes in saying it’s got a very environmentally favorable product, and the flavor is dog urine, I sure hope they’ll award the license to the company that might be a little less environmentally friendly, but is going to do vanilla.

        • Josh S

          The flavor of yogurt comparison is stretching it a bit, don’t you think?

          I guess the whole thing depends on what criteria the commission was using. If they made it up, then yes, there is a problem. If it was the same criteria that other taxicab companies have been judged by, then this decision is not controversial.

      • Hollywood

        Yes that is what I say

    • Josh S

      Maybe, maybe not. The businesses must apply for a license. The commission / board must have a standard to be used to grant or deny the license. It seems that the likelihood that the applicant can actually deliver the services for which they are applying is a good standard. Especially in this kind of regulatory environment when granting Company X a license necessarily means that Company Y does not get a license.

      I was quite excited for this business model when it was first covered here. I think that having the fast charging stations in Arlington would be a great thing.

      It may be that a smaller license should be granted – sort of a trial license so that the company can prove that they can successfully and consistently deliver people where they want to go without stranding people, causing unneccessary delays, etc.

  • Bicyclist

    I’m a bleeding heart liberal, and would love to move our country towards independence of oil, but this recommendation makes sense. The technology just isn’t there yet.

    • drax

      Yep – why not simply use hybrids with a gasoline backup, like Envirocab does?

  • John Fontain

    The Commission’s decision makes sense. It’s nice to see the exercise of good old-fashion common sense every once in a while.

  • DCBuff

    Not only is this a common-sense recommendation, it includes expansion of competition in the market through the recommendation of additional licenses to 2 non Red Top firms. And, since the recommendation is makes sense, I fully expect the ArlCo board to reject it.

    • DCBuff

      delete “is”

    • drax

      Because the Board soundly rejected Envirocab, right?

      • DCBuff

        While I had to consider carefully my agreeing with you on the initial point, you totally missed the point of the second comment.

        • drax


  • SHLady

    no trolley comments yet?

  • confused

    1. the leaf has no gas tank. The chevy volt does take gas, for longer trips. It seems to me like the objections raised here for a Leaf fleet would not apply to a Volt fleet. Am I incorrect?

    2. I think a fully charged Leaf would make from Arlco to Dulles and back, no? The problem is a cab near the end of its charge? Could they simply require the cabs to not go below a certain charge?

    3. Its ironic that a county with National Airport, that probably was never pleased Dulles was built for so far out, will now have to limit this green idea because of Dulles. I hope this discussion comes up again after the Silver Line phase 2 is complete (of coure people will still take cabs to Dulles, and hopefully EV tech will be better by then, but it would be nice if the Silver line availability could weigh in)

  • blah

    If I was EV Taxi, I would try to get Nissan to help with their cause.

    On the flip side, I think the concerns of the board that the cars can get between 65-100 miles on a charge are legitimate. I would like to see numbers of a few different things:
    How many miles does an average Arlington taxi drive per shift (separated by different times of days and days of the week).
    Are there EV Taxis in other markets. if so, how often do they need to charge during a shift?
    Are there other electric cars out there with better charges?
    How about the Chevy Volt? Maybe having an American made car would sway the transportation commission better.
    Where will the charging stations actually be? Will they take parking spots away from an already tough parking market?

    I am all in favor of EV taxis, but I can see what the concerns are at the moment without the answers from above.

  • WeiQiang

    I haven’t seen EV Cab’s business plan, but with all this technology, it would seem like EV could manage its fleet [and trips to IAD/BWI] by assigning a cab with an appropriate amount of energy for a given trip. If the cars have WiFi, EV’s system should be able to ‘know’ what the level of remaining power in each car is. In fact, this wouldn’t be just for long trips … they could optimize scheduling and assignment of cabs for th entire fleet.

    If they can’t do this, then adjusting the mix of cabs with maybe 25% – or whatever the right number is – hybrids could overcome the commission objections. Balance risk and innovation.

    I don’t understand why the commission – if it is indeed looking out for the long-term interests/safety of consumers and ArlCo citizens – would reject an innovative and workable solution out-of-hand.

  • Buckingham Bandit

    So the Transportation Committee is evaluating the business model? I figured that was the job of the owner/investors. Silly me.

    As long as the service doesn’t create a public nuisance, I don’t see what grounds the Committee has to give such input. Rest assured that the owner(s) of the business have the biggest stake in making sure that their business model is feasible.

    • Josh S

      They may have the biggest stake, but it’s also possible that they would be overly optimistic.

      • Buckingham Bandit

        Again, I’m not sure why the taxpayers should be on the hook for assessments/reality checks. The owner of the company should be responsible for any audits needed for running a viable company, along with a healthy dose of caveat emptor.

        • drax

          But if it fails, that’s a waste of a license that another company could be using.

          (Just an observation – not defending licensing itself).

        • Josh S

          You seem to be questioning the very nature of regulating the taxi industry.
          If there was no regulation, then anyone could decide to be a taxi, using their own vehicle. It seems that this might subject passengers to various scams, unsafe conditions, extortions, etc.

          I don’t know, it might be worth an experiment.

          Are there any jurisdictions that allow for a free-for-all in taxi services? I imagine this must be the case in many underdeveloped nations?

  • B22201

    Unless they’re using getting electricity, and the batteries to make these vehicles from some magical place, they’re still polluting.

    I think all cars should be banned between Ballston, and Courthouse, and it should be made into a pedestrian only corridor. All taxis will be powered by humans, or horses.

    • B22201

      I can’t speak English, evidently.

    • drax

      But they are polluting less, because some of their power comes from nuclear or wind, and they are polluting in the middle of nowhere instead of in a populated area that’s already saturated with emissions.

      • DCBuff

        Jeez, haven’t used that one before, have you? Retreading your tired, inaccurate comments.

        • drax

          Tell me why they are inaccurate. Or slink away. Your choice.

          • redstang423

            The operation of one EV will not really increase pollution, whereas the operation of a gas vehicle will. That being said, the operation of a large fleet of EVs will have a greater negative impact on pollution until we move towards a larger percentage of nuclear or other clean energies as the generation technology. The reason for this is even if the actual energy used by the EV causes less pollution, electric companies must have enough capacity to meet maximum possible demand. Often times when demand is lower, it is significantly cheaper for the generation facility to simply “throw away” electricity and run at a higher than needed capacity for the moment than to shut down or reduce the output. A fleet of EVs (again, at a national scale rather than Arlington cab scale) would easily cause this to occur and would completely offset the environmental positives of an EV, even if the actual amount of electricity required would have produced less pollution in theory. It does shift the pollution from being spread out to concentrated (which has arguments for being good and bad), but I’m not sure I’d say it’s the middle of nowhere. Dominion has coal, gas, and oil powered generation facilities in Richmond, Dumfries, and outside of Norfolk. Also, don’t forget pollution is moved pretty easily by prevailing winds, so just because the plant is out of sight, doesn’t mean pollution stays there.

          • drax

            So it depends on what your mix of power sources is? Of course. And some places have a pretty good mix now, enough to make EVs better than gas.

            We seem to be within a pretty good location:


            Yes, pollution is moved by wind. That’s a good reminder, though, that the amount of local air pollution is also a factor. Ours is among the worst in the nation, so exporting at least some of it helps.

          • redstang423

            Again, those maps and studies are based on the theoretical pollution resulting from actual energy used by the vehicle, rather than the theoretical pollution from the total energy produced to meet the increased demand due to that vehicle. Those studies assume if the vehicle uses an extra 1 kWh, the plant produces and extra 1 kWh. In reality on large scales, if the vehicle uses an extra 1kWh, it may drive the plant to produce 3 kWh since it is cheaper for it to run at that level.

            That being said, that’ll really only impact large scale deployments of these vehicles. Small scale, such as 50 EV taxis, will almost certainly not have any impact on overall demand, and their operation pollution cost would likely be zero.

          • drax

            So post your own study that shows those numbers, redstang. Be sure it applies to the U.S.

          • redstang423

            I couldn’t reply directly to your request for studies,so hopefully this one falls in somewhere that’s easy to follow.

            I don’t have any published studies that I can share. My occupation is a consultant for electric utilities, and I specialize in advanced and emerging grid technologies. Utilities see this from a couple perspectives: scary, because large scale adoption would significant exceed current generation capabilities, and awesome because it is the biggest opportunity to increase revenue. Some of the unpublished studies and business cases I’ve seen over the last couple years include the negative costs of the added pollution and the potential to get government grants to assist with renewable energy sources in order to offset the increased pollution from powering the EV fleet. It will be very difficult for anyone to do a study factoring the intricacies of the grid into the numbers since you’d need to partner with utilities to really understand how they’d be impacted, and good luck getting a utility to help with a study that would negatively impact their revenue.

            All that being said, it’s also very easy to pick apart the study on the basis of what I’ve said in my previous posts. They state in the details (click around a bit) that they assume a single power plant has to increase its capacity ever so slightly to power the EV. As I stated, that isn’t how generation plants work – you can easily google to get a more in depth explanation of how electric demand is met. If with that assumption, the EVs in the majority of the country are slightly worse or slightly better than the equivalent type of gas or hybrid vehicle (e.g. high efficiency vehicle – no point in comparing to an SUV), then looking at how the grid works in reality makes the argument significantly more difficult for the EV.

            The other major factor this study does not appear to include is electric line loss. The further away a power plant is, the more electricity is just simply lost. When 1 kWh is generated, 1 kWh is not available to be consumed (even though there would be demand for it). It varies significantly depending on distance of transmission and the voltage of the transmission lines, but 7-10% is a good average loss. That means 10 kWh generated would only provide ~9 – 9.3 kWh of electricity to charge the vehicle.

            This link isn’t 100% relevant to our exact discussion, but has other negative environmental impacts of EVs: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/electric-cars-merely-a-green-illusion-according-to-new-environmental-book-158414585.html

          • Josh S

            This seems to be rather hypothetical. And requiring us to go along with you as you scale your argument up to a national level would also seem to reduce its relevance, wouldn’t it?

          • redstang423

            It’s actually not theoretical at all. But as you mention (and as I mentioned in my post), this really only applies to large scale adoption of EVs – at which point, companies would have adopted them anyway if there was market feasibility for the idea. Arlington having an EV taxi company would not have an impact on its own.
            My point was EVs are extremely misleading in their benefits once you look past one single EV. With technology as it stands today and our electric generation fuel mix as it stands today, large scale national adoption would have a negative environmental impact over an equivalent hybrid or high-efficiency gasoline fleet.

          • drax

            “With technology as it stands today and our electric generation fuel mix as it stands today, large scale national adoption would have a negative environmental impact over an equivalent hybrid or high-efficiency gasoline fleet.”

            This is simply false.

            In some parts of the country, it might be true, but not nationally overall.

            Here’s the link again:


            (The study is only about global warming emissions, but it’s approximately the same, unless perhaps you have a really bad coal plant still spewing heavy metals and particulates).

          • redstang423

            Drax, posting the same link multiple times makes it no more accurate than the first time you posted it. See my other post (above) on how that looks solely at the impact of one individual vehicle, and assumes that translates accurately to a large scale, national fleet of EVs.

            Global warming emissions only look at operating “costs” rather than manufacturing costs (which are significantly worst for any vehicle using EV-type batteries), but fair enough for this argument. I also have to assume the study you are linking to uses some way of converting tailpipe emissions (post catalytic converter) to power plant emissions (post scrubbers) to compare them properly since they are two vastly different methods of pollution.

          • DCBuff

            Why? As redstang noted, emissions from power plants are indeed in urban areas, and do not hover over the plants; acid rain ring a bell? And, you didn’t actually address the issue B22201 raised regarding the highly polluting manufacture of the batteries. Long term, disposal of these batteries has the potential to contaminate water supplies, the soil, etc. Just like that magic nuclear power that, according to you, doesn’t pollute.

          • Josh S

            As I think I have said somewhere else, there is really no comparison between the overall negative externalities associated with gasoline powered automobile transportation versus electrically powered automobile transportation. Yeah, sure, batteries dumped into a landfill at the end of their life have the potential to damage the local environment. So do the batteries in regular cars. I don’t know if drax was trying to claim *no* pollution from electric cars. Just less pollution than from gas-powered cars.

          • drax

            I didn’t say batteries or nukes don’t pollute. They don’t pollute the air.

            I simply explained why EVs are usually a net gain in air pollution, and perhaps in all environmental concerns. It was nice for someone to remind us that EVs still pollute and aren’t magical sources of pure clean energy, but they’re still better than gas engines in most cases.

    • drax

      “I think all cars should be banned between Ballston, and Courthouse, and it should be made into a pedestrian only corridor. All taxis will be powered by humans, or horses.”

      No you don’t, and neither does anyone else. Nice straw man.

      • B22201

        I don’t live within that area, and if/when I do go in that general area, I walk there. So, I wouldn’t mind it being car-free.

        • drax

          You don’t need it to be car-free for you to walk there.

  • Brian Keez

    After 30k miles on my Nissan LEAF, it sounds to me that the board may not have enough knowledge to adequately evaluate the viability of the cars. Arlington to Dulles is about 20 miles. Given the level terrain there, a LEAF could make two round trips off of one full battery charge easily. So one round trip with the heater on is also will within range. Frequent DC quick charges have not been a problem for me. However more than a couple of consecutive days of 105+ temperatures are a problem. With no maintenance and low fuel cost, an EV taxi is a money maker.

    • pls consider speaking to County Board

      Your firsthand experience is a valuable data point in this discussion. I encourage you to speak at the County Board meeting on November 17.

    • redstang423

      According to Google Maps, Clarendon is 23 miles (add 1 for Roslyn and -1 for Ballston) from Dulles and Crystal City is 27 miles. I’d guess given the density and transit options there (and therefore lower ownership of cars), those are the two areas that would contain the likeliest areas from which people would be taking a cab to Dulles. According to Nissan, the range of the Leaf is 47-105 miles with an overall average of 73 miles. You might do better, but one single data point can’t possibly be used over the extensive testing done by the manufacturer. Using the 73 miles average, to do a round trip Crystal City to Dulles, that leaves 19 spare miles of charge. You’d need a cab with a 75% battery charge (assuming the discharge is proportional), when Nissan recommends only charging it to 80% for optimal lifetime of the battery. If the driver gets the Dulles fare immediately upon starting his shift and is at 100% (unlikely that this would happen, but you never know), he’ll be lucky to get one more fare before he’s too low on battery and needs to charge. His cab is now out of commission for a minimum of 30 minutes (assuming they have the specialty charger) and possibly 8 hours after two fares if they have to use a normal charger. How could these vehicles possibly make sense with current technologies?

      • Brian Keez

        Real-world, it does not take 8 hours to charge a completely drained LEAF with a Level 2 (normal) charging station. It is rare that one would wait until the battery is completely drained before charging meaning even less time plugged-in is required to reach max charge. With a fully powered DC Quick charger, 23 minutes gets the car to 80% and five minutes will add 20 miles. I’d be surprised if the average taxi ride is more than 20 miles.
        A 2012 Nissan LEAF would get the job done as a taxi.

        • redstang423

          The average taxi ride probably isn’t more than 20 miles. But, to/from Dupont Circle (or most places downtown) is a 10 mile total round trip from Clarendon area. So basically, the driver needs to stop for at least five minutes after every couple fares. The driver would also need to get to one of these charging stations which are just about no where.

          It sounds like your definition of “getting the job done as a taxi” means being needing to refuel after every 2-3 fares, not being able to refuel conveniently, and being frequently unavailable and significantly limited in the locations of trips it can make… yeah, makes sense to me.

  • Cabs

    I don’t care what kind of cabs they get as long as they get more cabs for Arlington. This area has grown so fast that it takes forever to get a cab on a weekend night (Thursday-Saturday). Half of the time the cabs don’t even show up when you call them.

  • Remember the ______-

    A bit off-topic, but the County’s manager’s recommendation to direct more cabs to Redtop rather than individual cab owners misses the fact that Redtop (and almost all cab companies) manage their fleets as a series of independent businesses with each cab being a separate business. That model attempts to avoid liability to the entire enterprise for the mishap of a single cab.

    So, the County’s manager decision to skip over individual cab owners in favor of Redtop really is not a decision of big business over individual cabs, but instead is a decision to favor certain individual businesses over other individual businesses.

    What would be wrong with a lottery?

  • BlueSkies

    Glad to see additional licenses for EnviroCab, They do a great job.

    • You

      Who said that? Read the reviews on google. And their drivers always complains.

  • ShirlingtonBF

    Bureaucrats: 1, jobs: 0

  • Voter

    Arlington County’s Transportation Advisory Commission is out of touch with reality. They neither have knowledge of Emerging Automotive nor Information Technology.

    Read up on Nissan Leaf for a few minutes on wikipedia.


    • redstang423

      With which point of the committee do you disagree regarding the Leaf? The range and recharge time of the Leaf was the only thing I saw in this article specifically against the Leaf. The article states the range is 60 to 105 miles, while Nissan states 47-105. The article also suggests potential 30-minute recharge time to complete a ride, which is the time Nissan states the specialty fast charger will recharge the battery from zero to 80% – assuming you can find one of those.


Subscribe to our mailing list