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Old 05-04-2009, 11:39 AM   #1 (permalink)
Ernie Rogers
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Ford tough! LA Times on hybrid taxis

Pretty interesting, wouldn't you say? /Ernie Rogers

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At 300,000-mile mark, SF's hybrid taxis have proved their worth
(It's not just batteries - check out the brake durability below)

Fri May 1, 2009

Published Monday, March 30, 2009, by the Los Angeles Times

"San Francisco's first 15 hybrid taxis, all Ford Escapes, have made it to about the 300,000-mile mark -- nearing the city's official taxi retirement age -- and are being taken off the road. Their longevity shows that hybrid technology is more durable than previously imagined; they also have saved drivers about $9,000 a year, depending on gas prices and number of shifts driven.

Today, 14% of San Francisco's 1,438 taxis are hybrids. Fifteen percent of New York's 13,237 cabs are, according to a spokesman for the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission, which just passed a hybrid incentive plan.

The Ford Escape is the first American hybrid. When it was unveiled five years ago, customers feared that the batteries wouldn't last and would be expensive to replace, said Gil Portalatin, hybrid systems application manager at Ford Motor Co.

San Francisco's experience, he said, showed that "these things are tougher than nails. ... We warranty the batteries for 150,000 miles and here you have cabs going out of service at 300,000 -- because that's the law, not because the cab's used up."

The retiring hybrid cabs also have shown that, even on San Francisco's notorious hills, the regenerative brake system's brake pads last far longer than nonhybrid brakes.

With a regenerative braking system, brake pads are not used to slow the car in stop-and-go traffic. Instead, when the brake pedal is depressed, it sends a signal to the electric motor, which slows the vehicle and also charges the car's high-voltage battery. The brake pads are used only at the very end of the stopping cycle.

Yellow Cab is awaiting the arrival of 10 new Ford Fusion sedans, which promise even better gas mileage than the Escapes.

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Old 05-04-2009, 12:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Very good to hear they're holding up. I've heard a few stories about very high mileage hybrids. Hopefully we'll see that percentage of the fleet number go up from here.
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Old 05-04-2009, 08:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Taxis , buses and delivery vehicles always seemed to me to be the obvious application for hybrid technology.

That said maybe being driven in one will help open the idea to more people than just talking about it and seeing Hollywood wannabes parading around "saving the planet" for us all.


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