With Earth Day coming up, we’d like to give a shout-out to
all of the transportation industry leaders who are moving their fleets and our
industry forward toward a greener future. Whether they’re going electric, using
innovative fuel sources, or just reducing the number of personal vehicles on
the road, the transportation industry is going green.
One of the hottest topics in “green” transportation is the
electric taxi, but it isn’t new. The electric vehicle dates back to the early
1800s in Hungary, though its invention is attributed to many people. Anyos
Jedlik is credited with creating an early type of electric motor, and Thomas
Davenport, a blacksmith from Vermont, later crafted something similar that
operated on a short-electrified track. Still, it wasn’t until the development
of rechargeable batteries in 1859 that functional electric cars became a
The development of electric cars continued, morphing into an
industry that focused on developing electric trains. The first functional
electric vehicle was developed in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1890. The wagon could
carry six passengers and its top speed was 14 miles per hour. Still, the
electric vehicle met its match in the early 20th century. Because of technical constraints,
these vehicles topped out at 20 miles per hour. Not only that, these vehicles
had a limited range because there was a lack of recharging infrastructure. As
vehicles powered by internal combustion engines grew in popularity, the
electric vehicle faded into the background.
Now, these vehicles are making a real resurgence. The
infrastructure to support them has blossomed. California has made itself one of
the country’s biggest supporters of electric vehicles, with more than 15,000
charging units, more than any
other state. These vehicles are particularly beneficial for fleet
operators looking for ways to make their fleets more “green” and simultaneously
save on fuel costs. London and cities in Canada have launched electric taxi
fleets, and New York City—arguably the cab capital of North America—previously
launched a pilot program utilizing electric taxis.
TLPA members are getting involved, too. Rick Hewatt’s
Atlanta Checker Cab Company has become the first in Georgia to deploy
all-electric taxis. In partnership with Georgia Power’s Will-It-Work™ program,
Atlanta Checker Cab now has two Nissan LEAFs on the road.
Of course, this is just one of the ways the transportation
industry has made itself more “green.” There are companies using alternative
fuels and installing solar panels on their headquarters. Funny enough, while
electric vehicles are booming in popularity, adopting these technologies to
make our Earth a little better might actually be the oldest trick in the book.
Happy Earth Day!