Bloomberg to promote electric taxis in cities

Nov 06, 2010 By MIN LEE , Associated Press
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, left, speaks as Toronto Mayor David Miller listens at a news conference in Hong Kong Friday, Nov. 5, 2010. Bloomberg has praised Chinese cities for taking part in a climate change coalition that he is set to lead, saying he is heartened that they are no longer blinded by the pursuit of economic growth. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

(AP) -- City authorities are often better placed than national governments to combat climate change, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Saturday, vowing to promote the use of electric taxis as he takes over the leadership of a global coalition of major cities.

The billionaire mayor urged delegates at the C40 conference in Hong Kong to wield the power of its large collective population, which accounts for about 1 in 12 people in the world.

C40 is a coalition of 40 cities. It was founded in 2005 with the aim of reducing carbon emissions. Nineteen other cities are affiliate members.

Those cities' huge car and taxi populations mean they have a huge role to play to cutting emissions, Bloomberg said. The 19 of the C40 cities where statistics were available are home to more than 20 million cars and 25 member city governments represented in the coalition have oversight of taxi fleets controlling more than 1 million cabs.

"Think of that - a million-plus autos, the most iconic vehicles in our downtowns, that we can start to work together to make more efficient and less polluting," he said.

He suggested that cities could agree on common taxi designs and place orders for the vehicles together - although he acknowledged later in comments to reporters that there would be practical difficulties in introducing the same electric taxis, because of differences in economics, regulations and safety standards.

But he said he is hopeful that cities with similar standards will work together.

"We've seen, I think again and again, how national governments have struggled, both at home and at the international stage, to take actions," the mayor said in his speech. "Together, we have to fill the vacuum of leadership ourselves."

Global climate talks have stalled, with rich and poor countries at odds over how to split the burden of emission cuts and how to verify them. Most countries already say a binding treaty is unlikely at the upcoming U.N. climate conference in Cancun later this month.

Bloomberg, the founder of the financial information company by the same name, is a firm believer in the executive powers of city government, referring to the practice of installing energy-efficient electrical equipment in old buildings.

"Most of the things we talk about to improve the environment in New York City - it's a building code. That's a city function," he said.

Bloomberg, who succeeds Toronto Mayor David Miller as C40 chairman, also promised to improve information-sharing among cities during his two-year term by providing comparative studies of cities with similar characteristics.

The mayor, who takes the subway to work in New York, was scheduled to ride its Hong Kong counterpart later Saturday before returning home in the evening.

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User comments : 9

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Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Nov 06, 2010
What does the taxi driver do when the customer asks for an adress outside of the 30 mile radius the car can travel to still get back to its charging post?

"Im sorry sir, this is an electric car."
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Nov 06, 2010
I know a few taxi drivers, and for them an electric car would be utterly useless, because they never know where they end up going. Even though 90% of the trips are short, there's still times when you're 25 miles from where you should be, and then you have to go another 25 miles to where you have to be after that.

And you only got 40 miles left on the battery.
Grizzled
1 / 5 (2) Nov 07, 2010
Not only that. Electricity doesn't grow on trees, it has to be generated, transmitted, batteries charged then discharged when running. At each and every step there are losses, it's unavoidable. As a result, an electric car like that actually pollutes more than similar sized traditional one. The only good point about that (if you can call it good) is shifting pollution out of the cities. But that comes at a price. Not only financial but also ironically at the price of the very same emissions they are supposed to fight.
Buyck
5 / 5 (2) Nov 07, 2010
Yes! A least the air quality will improve a bit by that fact! Its also much healthier for the people that are living in enormes cities.
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (2) Nov 07, 2010
Not only that. Electricity doesn't grow on trees, it has to be generated, transmitted, batteries charged then discharged when running. At each and every step there are losses, it's unavoidable. As a result, an electric car like that actually pollutes more than similar sized traditional one.
That's false. Even with the losses, and having the cab in a pure coal power generation state like W Va, you're still producing 10% less CO2 and a lot less particulate emissions than burning gasoline and that's counting from the mine or well to the tank.

In states where the primary power is natural gas or nuclear you're creating less than 10% of the CO2 and particulate pollutants than gasoline.
Grizzled
1 / 5 (2) Nov 08, 2010
That's false.

Sorry mate, you can't argue with physics. No conversion is 100% efficient, can't be even in theory.

Of course I was talking about the same original source of energy - not fair comparing chemical (oil/coal) with nuclear. If you want to switch everything to using all-out nuclear energy supply you have my full support. But... try selling that idea to general masses.
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (2) Nov 08, 2010
Sorry mate, you can't argue with physics. No conversion is 100% efficient, can't be even in theory.
I wasn't arguing with that, strawman.

Of course I was talking about the same original source of energy - not fair comparing chemical (oil/coal) with nuclear. If you want to switch everything to using all-out nuclear energy supply you have my full support. But... try selling that idea to general masses.
As I said, even using coal or oil to fuel the electrical needs of the vehicle it produces less waste and exhaust than traditional gasoline. I'd recommend a course in reading comprehension. Just so you read it again, here's my statement
Even with the losses, and having the cab in a pure coal power generation state like W Va, you're still producing 10% less CO2 and a lot less particulate emissions than burning gasoline and that's counting from the mine or well to the tank.
Grizzled
not rated yet Nov 08, 2010
As I said, even using coal or oil to fuel the electrical needs of the vehicle it produces less waste and exhaust than traditional gasoline.

And as I said, you can't argue with physics. If you introduce extra stage(s) of energy conversion - from oil to electricity then to mechanical you can't possibly get the same efficiency, let alone a better one. Not possible.

I'd recommend a course in reading comprehension.

Same to you buddy. Plus, you might want to read something on discussion ethics and avoiding personal ad hominem attacks.
ForFreeMinds
not rated yet Nov 14, 2010
Government meddling in the free market, like this, just doesn't work. And it wastes taxpayer money. Bloomberg should instead set an example and waste his own money on an electric vehicle.