- Green Cab Madison in Wisconsin will launch the nation's first all-Tesla taxi fleet, according to the Madison Capital Times and other reports. The $5 million project is backed by Madison-based tech firm Zerology.
- The company currently has 45 hybrid vehicles, but will integrate 20 electric vehicles (EVs) as early as next week and turn over the rest of its fleet early next year.
- Zerology also plans to build a 600-kilowatt solar array for daytime charging of the vehicles, and to offset electricity use at night. The vehicles will have a range of 300 miles per charge.
Governor Tony Evers, D-WI, has made fighting the effects of climate change a priority, including a goal of getting only carbon-free electricity by 2050. Transportation, however, remains the nation’s largest source of carbon emissions, and tackling the problem is difficult from the government level. Expanding the market for EVs is a primary strategy, but relies on both private fleets and individual drivers to make the switch.
At a press conference, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes said "we need help from private industry," and challenged other businesses to explore their own EV fleets, according to the Madison Capital Times.
The Green Cab Madison turnover is a significant step to reducing urban transportation emissions. The company started in 2010 with a fleet of hybrid vehicles and has provided more than 4 million rides. Zerology, the firm that backs the cab fleet, has a goal to reduce 25% of carbon dioxide emissions from Madison, while taking 25,000 cars off the road.
The plans to invest in chargers and install solar energy for charging will also help address one of the biggest drawbacks to commercial use of EVs, which is range anxiety. In Washington, DC, an effort to integrate EVs into the taxi fleet was hindered by a lack of chargers, which forced drivers to go out of their way to refuel.
It comes as cab and ride-hailing fleets are exploring ways to push into electric options. Other taxi companies like Yellow Cab of Columbus, OH have invested heavily in EVs and charging infrastructure to reduce their environmental impact, and offer an alternative to ridesharing companies. Lyft, meanwhile, has rolled out a "green mode" to help riders select hybrid and electric vehicles, and Uber last month announced a partnership with EVGo to research how to put more EVs on its platform.