Shared mobility provider Revel has not always been among the luckiest companies in New York. Its recent plan to launch a ride-hailing service with 50 Teslas has been dismissed by the authorities in charge – at least in its initial form.
++ This article has been updated. Please continue reading below. ++
It is difficult to obtain a license for taxi services in New York as authorities continue to confront congestion. Still, Revel wanted to take advantage of an exemption that the city uses to encourage the introduction of electric vehicles. The envisioned zero-emission ride-hailing service was to use 50 specially adapted Tesla Model Y.
However, shortly after Revel aired its Tesla fleet initiative, the authorities in charge announced they put an end to the exemption.
Consequently, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (NYC TLC) decided not to grant Revel the license for the e-cars. In a statement seen by local media, TLC chair Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk said: “It is not sustainable to allow an unlimited number of new vehicles to the road in a city that is all too familiar with the choke of traffic congestion. What we will not allow is the opportunity for another corporation — venture capitalists or otherwise — to flood our streets with additional cars.”
This being shady enough as an argument, the TLC then argued that Revel could still operate if it buys 50 gas cars and then transfers their licenses to the Teslas — a proposition that Revel called “the very definition of limiting market competition.”
Note also that ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft went around the law by not using full-time employees with benefits. Revel, on the other hand, stressed that they were offering “exactly what this commission has been asking for for years: fair treatment and stable pay for drivers.” Yet, TLC found yet another reason to stifle electric vehicle roll-out across NYC.
Still, it is not the first time Revel has run into issues in New York. In July last year, the company suspended its electric moped sharing “until further notice” following a second death on its electric vehicles in eleven days. We put that down to dangerous driving conditions in New York rather than the vehicles.
Update 03 August 2021
It appears that Revel has finally found favour with NYC’s regulatory agency, the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). TLC now granted Revel the license to launch its 50-strong fleet of Model Y taxis.
The fleet will operate south of 42nd street in Manhattan, stretching down to the island’s tip. Revel told Teslarati that it would consider growing into other neighbourhoods and boroughs once the company has more of an idea of where the fleet is being utilised most frequently.
The blog also asked TLC Spokesperson Allan Fromberg for comment. He said the TLC was “fully supportive of a transition to electrification”, and it expects several agencies to make an effort toward introducing electric powertrains in the coming years. “The TLC is fully committed to a 100% electrified future, just not at the cost of additional congestion,” Fromberg told Teslarati.
Revel executives said the cabs would become available this week, at least the first 15 which have been inspected and approved for operation. The company had modified the Model Y to make it fit for taxi services. Revel added a screen in the back seat and removed the front passenger seat to create more legroom.
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