A brand new taxi design was unveiled this week to mixed fanfare in New York City, known as the Taxi of Tomorrow

Over the next 10 years, NYC Taxi organizations will direct about 80 percent of their fleet to adopt the new car.

The problem?

The new car’s aren’t hybrids – even as electric vehicles sales will spike for the rest of the auto industry.

In NYC, the largest city in the U.S. (which does not have a shortage of cars polluting) this is a serious issue.

To compare the Taxi of Tomorrow to their Silicon Valley competitors, the Ferenstein Wire reached out to ride hailing companies for stats on battery-powered vehicles and carpooling.

Lyft says that about 15 percent of its fleet in NYC is hybrid and “more than 30 percent” of all rides are carpools (15 percent is about 5 times higher than the total hybrid market share as of 2014).

So, about half of Lyft’s total mileage in NYC is pumping less pollutants into the air as a normal car.

A spokesman for the NYC taxi commission tells the Ferenstein Wire that taxi companies were precluded by law from requiring the auto designers from electrically-powered vehicles.

Regulations, it appears not only limit taxi competitiveness with new ride share companies, but also hamper their ability to be environmentally friendly.

When asked about ridehailing, the spokesman said that taxis don’t capture the number of riders in a car, but said that taxi stands to encourage carpooling, especially from airports.

For broader carpooling around the city, “we’ve tried it a number of times, most of our experiments have not gone as successfully as we would have liked them to go,” he admitted.

The Taxi Commission was surprisingly complimentary of ridesharing apps that encourage carpooling and was extraordinarily responsive to our questions, but noted that the Taxi industry itself is sort of hamstrung by all sorts of requirements.

Most cars have to meet the eclectic demands of all types of riders (including those with wheelchairs), must protect drivers, and be amenable to passengers.

The ridehailing companies have managed to disaggregate all of these different demands, by allowing users to choose what kind of vehicle they want (whether it’s wheelchair accessible or luxury).

The taxi industry is doing what it can to embrace modernization, but with all sorts of logistic and legal constraints, it seems they are only falling farther behind the competition.

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