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Thread: CA spends $3M on 6 EV Taxis

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    Model S VIN P01536 Robert.Boston's Avatar
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    Icon1 CA spends $3M on 6 EV Taxis

    Besides Tesla, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District will get $3 million for an electric taxi project along with Better Place Mobility Services Inc. Six taxis will use two charging stations, one at San Francisco International Airport and the other at San Jose's airport.

    $3 million for 6 taxis? At $500k each, they should be Bentleys.
    Last edited by doug; 2012-10-10 at 07:55 PM. Reason: added quote

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert.Boston View Post
    $3 million for 6 taxis? At $500k each, they should be Bentleys.
    +1

    Based on the quote it is talking about 2 "charging" stations and Better Place is mentioned. Makes me think this must be funding 2 battery swap locations along with 6 taxis. Still seems like a lot of money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert.Boston View Post
    $3 million for 6 taxis? At $500k each, they should be Bentleys.
    Agreed, this sounds like greenwashing. If they were serious they'd buy about 30 model X's and several Superchargers. I suspect Tesla would give them a good price.

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    Head Moderator / Administrator doug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CapitalistOppressor View Post
    +1

    Based on the quote it is talking about 2 "charging" stations and Better Place is mentioned. Makes me think this must be funding 2 battery swap locations along with 6 taxis. Still seems like a lot of money.
    Battery swap would make more sense. Wonder what the range is on those taxis, though. SFO is still a ways from the city.

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    Head Moderator / Administrator doug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert.Boston View Post

    $3 million for 6 taxis? At $500k each, they should be Bentleys.
    Apparently Better Place is going to use the Coda for their Bay Area taxi service. My first impression is that this is because no other manufacturer was willing to work with Better Place.
    Better Place, Coda an unexpected partnership for airport taxi battery swaps - AutoBlog Green
    Quote Originally Posted by Better Place via ABG
    As you may know, we're developing an electric taxi program in the Bay Area. To fulfill our program commitment to demonstrate switchable-battery taxis, Better Place, CODA and FEV are moving forward with a collaboration to convert six CODA electric cars with fixed batteries into switchable-battery cars. It's another example of our ongoing efforts around the world to develop more makes and models of electric cars with switchable batteries.
    I tried to leave the following comment at ABG, but their system doesn't seem to be working right. I post it here instead:

    Quote Originally Posted by doug
    This oddly got simultaneously more interesting and more lame.

    Fleet vehicles that have to be in constant operation is one of the few uses where battery swaps can make economic sense. The Renault Fluence isn't sold in the US, so Better Place perhaps needed to find a new partner. As far as I know, as a start-up, Coda doesn't have supply issues, but has a severe demand issue. I mean really, who would buy that car at that price given the more attractive alternatives in the market? So this is a boon for Coda to be able to supply the cars, though the cars are a bit lame.

    If however, the goal is to actually supply a taxis service, Tesla would be in a better position to provide it for the money. Six 85 kWh battery pack Model S's at say $100K each and Superchargers at both SJC and SFO could be had for certainly less than $3M, and could be had today instead of years from now. That would provide great usage data and Tesla can swap the batteries when they reach end of life. Customers would be able to travel in style, rather than in the equivalent of a 1993 Nissan Sentra.

    The CEC should cut that $3M grant in two and give half to Tesla to demonstrate a competing taxis service. Would love see which does better. (Note that Tesla got a $10M grant from the same program to help develop the Model X.)
    If the goal is specifically to demonstrate battery swaps for EV taxis (as opposed to simply the taxis) I'd still prefer Tesla got such a grant to demonstrate one of their early promises with the Model S which they have since walked back from. (How cool would it be to see the Model S get a battery swap with a Better Place level of automation? )
    Last edited by doug; 2012-10-15 at 10:55 AM. Reason: typo

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    Head Moderator / Administrator doug's Avatar
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    http://www.energy.ca.gov/releases/20...awards_nr.html
    The Bay Area Air Quality Management District will receive $3 million for the Bay Area "eTaxi" Program. Working with Better Place Mobility Services, Inc., the air district will demonstrate specially designed battery electric taxis that can use switchable batteries to give the vehicles essentially unlimited range. Two battery switching stations, at the international airports in San Francisco and San Jose, and six taxis that use switchable batteries will be used. Data regarding their operation will be collected as part of the project. Better Place is based in Palo Alto and Israel. The project will demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach to reducing pollution from transportation, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of the air district's total greenhouse gas emissions.

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    Head Moderator / Administrator doug's Avatar
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    http://www.energy.ca.gov/business_me...t_District.pdf

    Excerpt below:

    [top]BACKGROUND/PROBLEM STATEMENT

    Conventional transportation technologies and strategies pollute the air, degrade health, and
    export money from the local economy among other things. Therefore, in order for California to
    achieve its air quality, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, petroleum reduction and economic
    goals, the State needs to look at new and alternative forms of transportation including electric
    vehicles.

    The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District) believes that Better Place’s business
    model, technology and business practices may represent an economically viable solution to
    these problems. Their technology is currently being deployed in other regions around the globe
    (Denmark and Israel most notably) and is showing excellent promise as a solution to reducing
    emissions from transportation.

    The proposed Bay Area eTaxi program will demonstrate a solution to address the region’s
    long‐standing need to reduce criteria and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation;
    a sector that accounts for nearly 40% of the region’s total GHG emissions. The program
    demonstrates a strategy for mass market electrification of light duty vehicles powered by
    renewable and clean California electricity that would allow the State to continue its leadership as
    “the electric vehicle (EV) capitol of the United States.”

    [top]GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE AGREEMENT

    [top]Goals of Resulting Agreement

    The e-Taxi Program is designed to achieve 3 goals in building a scalable, replicable and costeffective
    GHG emissions reduction strategy for the Bay Area:
    1. Create the first North American eTaxi Corridor, providing unlimited range for participating
    vehicles in less time than it takes to fill a tank of gas
    2. Operate a fully functional zero emission switchable battery EV taxi fleet
    3. Raise awareness on EVs with a million consumers through the EV taxi experience over this
    and future phases

    [top]Objectives of the Agreement

    1. Demonstrate that the battery switchable vehicle (XBEV) taxis can serve customers at a rate
    similar to that of the comparable hybrid taxi service within the corridor
    2. Show the battery switch concept’s robustness by demonstrating a minimum "down time" for
    the equipment that is on the order of that for the comparable internal combustion engine
    (ICE)/hybrid taxi average
    3. Demonstrate commercial-intent XBEVs without any range

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    Head Moderator / Administrator doug's Avatar
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    So this CEC thing is perhaps the demonstration project that they promised back in 2010.

    Better Place - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    [top]San Francisco

    In October 2010 Better Place announced its commitment to launch a three-year demonstration program with electric-powered taxis in the San Francisco Bay Area, in partnership with the cities ofSan Francisco and San Jose, California, taxi operators and car sharing programs, regional and state agencies, consumer and EV organizations, and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. The program will deploy and operate four battery switching stations in the San Francisco to San Jose corridor to support a fleet of switchable-battery EV taxis.[79]
    As of December 2011, Better Place has made no further statements of progress on this program.[80]

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    Head Moderator / Administrator doug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TEG View Post
    So this $3M is on top of $7M previously spent, or is the $3M part of that $7M?
    The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which manages taxi operations in The City, was awarded a $7 million regional grant to oversee a fleet of 61 electric cars and four battery-swapping stations in The City and San Jose.

    Better Place, a private company that specializes in electric vehicle infrastructure featuring easily replaceable batteries, was included in the grant as partner to install the network and find manufacturers for the cars. The 61 taxis would be added to the Yellow Cab fleets in San Francisco and San Jose.

    Originally scheduled to be up and running this year, the electric vehicle network has been delayed by issues during its pre-operational planning phases, said Better Place spokesman John Proctor. Even though the grant funds were approved in 2010, Better Place did not establish its necessary private-public partnerships with San Francisco and San Jose until this May, Proctor said. Several planning elements of the network could not be worked on until the partnership agreements were finalized.
    Originally supposed to be 61 taxis, but now only 6?

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    Head Moderator / Administrator doug's Avatar
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    Better Places battery-swapping Coda taxis coming to California in 2014

    Better Place To Bring Electric Taxi Service To California in 2013 - Forbes

    ...
    Better Place will initially build two battery switch stations to service four Coda Automotive electric sedans. The Los Angeles startup’s electric sedan has a fixed battery but engineering company FEV will convert the Coda to be battery swappable.

    The plan is to eventually build six battery switch stations to service a 60-taxi fleet. The stations will located at the San Francisco and San Jose airports with one each in the downtown districts of those cities and two on the Peninsula between them, according to Damian Breen, director of the strategic incentives division for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which is overseeing the eTaxi program.

    “It’s something we’re excited to see roll out here in the Bay Area as we think it could be a very good solution for taxi fleets and high mileage fleets,” says Breen. “It’s a project that has great benefits for air quality in terms of reducing green house gas emissions and pollutants.”
    ...

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