San Francisco to See Electric Taxis

What’s the quickest way to reduce tail-pipe emissions in cities? Better Place believes it’s electric taxis. This leading electric vehicles service provider, with support of the U.S. Department of Transportation via the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, recently dropped word that they’ll be bringing a switchable battery, electric taxi program to the Bay Area (in partnership with the cities of San Francisco and San Jose.

The goal? To further cement the region’s position as the self-proclaimed “EV Capital of the U.S.”

Better Place_Electric Vehicles_Switchable Batteries

image via Better Place

According to Better Place, electric taxis are a key component of the transition to greener cities, as these vehicles–while less numerous than private ones–contribute disproportionately to greenhouse gas emissions, logging long miles on city streets, day in and day out. Moreover, taxis are highly visible, which means they may be able to spur higher rates of electric vehicle purchase amongst the general Bay Area populace.

Such a program is not without precedent, as Better Place has been operating an EV taxi pilot program in Tokyo, supported by the Japanese government, since April 26 of this year. The program is operated in cooperation with Nihon Kotsu Co., Tokyo’s largest taxi operator, and focuses on the feasibility of an automated battery switch process as a means for taxis to have instant range extension. The program in the Bay Area will be operated in cooperation with Yellow Cab Cooperative and Yellow Checker Cab Inc.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.