Back in 2019, the Tesla Model 3 became the first 100% electric taxi cab that was approved by New York City. There were some hybrid cars on the list as well. Last year, there were more Tesla taxis trickling into New York City and CleanTechnica showed a cost comparison estimate between the Tesla Model 3, the Toyota Camry Hybrid, and the Ford Fusion Hybrid.
Now, @TeslaNY has shared photos of a Tesla taxi that was spotted in New York City — with photos from u/luidorm. In the second photo, you can see the Model 3 door handle with instruction in blue arrows as well as a “Push to open here” with an arrow pointing at the part of the door you push to open.
— Tesla New York (@TeslaNY) March 17, 2021
What It’s Like Driving A Tesla Taxi
In January 2020, Castanet News shared one such interview with a Tesla taxi. The company is called Kelowna Cabs and it added the new Tesla to its fleet. Not only was the driver interviewed, but so were customers. One customer was impressed with how quiet and comfortable the vehicle was.
The driver, Roy Paulson, said, “As far as driving one of them, it’s pretty much an autopilot type of thing and it actually even does have an Autopilot level which I would never use, by the way. When you take your foot off the brake, the sensors in the car automatically realized that you do need to stop and it also shows the sensor read on the screen here,” he said as he pointed to the screen.
“That tells that there’s a car in front, so, technically, you don’t have to use the brake pedal. For safety, of course, we do but you don’t have to. And also when you take your foot off the gas, it regenerates power back into the battery, and like one of our previous passengers said, was she enjoyed how quiet it was because their personal vehicle is a diesel and in order to listen to any music they have to to have the stereo turned up full. With this, you have the stereo on minimum and still hear everything.”
In a 6 minute video shared by Sam Sheffer on YouTube back in December 2020, Sam shared his experience riding with Rami, the driver of a Tesla Model 3 taxi cab. Sam noted that the taxi was modified to meet all of the standards set by the taxi and limousine commission of New York.
Rami told Sam that he’d been a cab driver in the city for a while and that it was a dream of his to drive a Tesla. Rami spoke in the video and said that he’d driven a Camry, a Sienna, and that he’d worked in the taxi garage. “I told him my dream: I drive Tesla,” Rami said. One day, Rami got a call. “Rami, come and get your wishes here.”
Sam shared how he came across Rami’s cab and how he got to ride in it. He was on his way home from his studio a few weeks ago and saw the Model 3 taxi that he described as a yellow beauty. “I obviously had to stop and take videos and these pictures,” he said. Sam then introduced himself to Rami and told him that he wanted to make a video about his car. “And here we are.”
“The Tesla taxi is a Standard Range Plus Model 3 that has been wrapped and outfitted with everything found in a traditional gasoline cab,” Sam explained in his video. “The exterior of the car is obviously the most striking. It’s pretty epic to see a bright yellow Tesla with the iconic taxi insignias including the occupancy lights up top. It’s got the metered fare flat rate to JFK Airport and the NYC taxi logo decals on both sides of the vehicle,” he pointed out. What I didn’t see while watching Sam’s video were the instructions on how to open the door — the core inspiration for this article. However, Sam uploaded his video back in December and he’d first come across the taxi weeks ago — and looking at the video it’s clear to see that it was recorded in the fall at least, or even early winter.
This taxi has the infamous medallion bolted right on the hood. For those of us not in New York City, this taxi medallion is the Certificate of Public Necessity and Convenience, which is a transferable permit that allows a taxi driver to operate.