Tesla is not directly involved in this case, but it is an indication as to what the future could hold if Taxi agencies won’t give them approval to operate. The company who is involved here is a startup called Revel. Revel has somewhat of bad reputation in the sense that they launched a ride-share program for scooters and three people ended up being killed on the scooters. It is unclear if any of the blame should go to Revel, but those accidents did happen under their brand.
Why the TLC says these vehicles can’t be used
The TLC has given some arguments as to why Revel shouldn’t put these vehicles out onto the street. The TLC said they had done away with the EV exemption. The counterargument Revel has presented is that they hadn’t published the rule change. TLC spokesman Alan Fromberg believed posting the final version of the rule change online would be sufficient according to the City Administrative Procedure Act.
The TLC also mentions concerns about traffic congestion. They say that having an EV exemption in place will make traffic congestion more of a problem. In terms of what Revel is doing, they are only planning to use what seems to be a small number of vehicles. Therefore, the level of traffic congestion probably won’t change much by adding these taxis.
Actions the TLC has taken thus far
So far, the TLC has announced that they voted to stop issuing EV licenses for taxis. The controversy surrounding this is that it was announced the TLC had voted, and this was the day before the actual vote was scheduled to happen.
The TLC tried to strike a deal with Revel, but this deal was counterproductive to Revel’s goals. The TLC said Revel could launch their EV service if they bought 50 gas cars.
Revel thinks this is a battle they can win
Revel C.E.O Frank Reig thinks that they will be granted approval to use these Tesla vehicles as taxi cabs on the streets of New York City. He believes they would be operating under the law.
Why Tesla may have to deal with more situations like this in the future
This is a dispute over regular taxi cabs. If you bring fully autonomous taxis into the equation, the opposition by groups such as the TLC could be even more intense.
Daniel Cappo reports Tesla developments at Torque News. He has had a passion for cars ever since age five when his grandparents let him drive their old golf cart around their property in Upstate NY. He has attended numerous auto shows, and even got the chance to drive a Ferrari California on the track. Ever since Tesla opened up a dealership at his local mall, he's been an avid follower of their cars and technology. Dan has a B.S. in Public Communication from U Vermont. Follow Daniel on Twitter and LinkedIn for daily Tesla News.