A forthcoming SUV-like taxicab that runs on natural gas could be a good alternative for city taxi fleets, energy magnate T. Boone Pickens said.
Promoting the concept in Dallas, Pickens said development of the taxicab would help spur construction of a refueling infrastructure for vehicles that run on compressed natural gas, reports DallasNews.
This week, Pickens, Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and Dallas City Council members examined a prototype of the vehicle, which is being designed to go 250 miles on a tank of natural gas.
Leppert is floating an idea to let “green” cabs such as this go to the front of the line at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport and Dallas’ Love Field, as has happened at some cities, including San Francisco and Boston.
Pickens’ support of natural gas taxis is not entirely about the environment. Although Pickens has been a big proponent of wind energy, his holdings run deep in natural gas.
The MV1 taxi was formerly known as the Standard Taxi, but has been redesigned. Accessible to wheelchairs, it is expected to go into production in 2010, listing for about $38,000.
Natural gas taxis are making headway around the world. In Lima, Peru, about 55 percent of taxis are fueled by natural gas, according to NGVGlobal.
More than 250 natural gas taxis are operating in New York City, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which has a resource to help cities adopt natural gas taxis. The EPA says that vehicles powered by natural gas emit 80 percent fewer ozone precursors and over 95 percent fewer particulates than conventional gasoline-powered vehicles. In addition to being cleaner, compressed natural gas is also 30 to 40 percent cheaper than gasoline or diesel on a same mileage basis.