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November 16, 2005

Ford Launches Hybrid Taxis in New York City


Closeup photo of the side of a vehicle painted taxicab yellow and bearing a taxi fare chart and a hybrid badge.

Forget the Checker Cab: The Big Apple's new trademark taxi is a hybrid.
Credit: Ford Motor Company

Six Ford Escape Hybrids took to the streets of New York City on November 10th to serve as the city's first hybrid electric taxicabs. The hybrid taxis are the first to serve the city since the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission approved eight hybrid models in mid-October. Although the commission was spurred to action by an act passed by the New York City Council in July, the commission is now encouraging taxicab owners to switch to hybrids. According to the commission, the average New York taxi travels nearly 100,000 miles each year, and of the 13,000 taxis in the city, about 2,000 are due for retirement next year. See the press release from the Ford Motor Company.

Meanwhile, Japanese automakers have been rolling out their 2006 hybrid models. In early November, Lexus introduced a front-wheel-drive version of its RX 400h, which achieves an EPA estimated fuel economy of 33 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, at a base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $44,660. The vehicles should begin arriving in dealerships by late December. Lexus also removed some standard options from its all-wheel-drive RX 400h, lowering the base MSRP to $46,060. Toyota introduced a slightly tweaked 2006 Prius, with new options available, at a base cost of $21,725. And the redesigned 2006 Civic Hybrid, which achieves an EPA estimated fuel economy of 49 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 51 mpg on the highway, went on sale in October with a price of $21,850. See the press releases from Lexus, Toyota, and Honda.

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