NYC’s Electric Taxi Program Starts Today

April 22, 2013 | Andy Cush

Starting today, the city is introducing six Nissan Leaf electric cars into its fleet of taxis to test whether the high-efficiency vehicles make suitable cabs. These aren’t the Taxis of Tomorrow, mind you–that program is set to debut later this year–but what Michael Bloomberg calls “the taxi of the day after tomorrow,” as the mayor hopes for all electric cabs by 2020.

The electric cars are will be run by volunteers, who will be afforded certain privileges for their guinea pig service. Namely, they’ll be able to refuse you a ride if they deem your destination too far away, for fear the car may lose charge on the road. Though some cabbies express worry about the time it will take to charge the cars, at least one driver is looking forward to a few necessary breaks. “You take a break sometimes longer than that,” Yahyia Gassem told the New York Times. “It’s for the environment.”