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🚫 Revel Teslas blocked by NYC

We've covered our friends at Revel a few times before when they launched the plans for their charging Superhub (EVU issue #17) and announced the all-electric quality rideshare service in New York, starting with 50 Revel-blue Teslas (#28). Now, we've got an update on both - a good one, and a "wtf" one.

The Superhub is ready

The 25 Tritium fast chargers are now open 24-7 to use for $0.39/kWh, without parking or entrance fees, in the heart of NYC.

These are brand-agnostic, meaning you can charge any EV there. This makes it the largest universal charging station in North America. It's also future-proof because the old Pfizer site has 7MW of power, so scaling the chargers up to 350kW wouldn't be a problem.

The 50 ride-hailing Teslas would charge on the site also, giving the jump-start on utilization a charging hub needs to operate.

On that note, there's the "wtf" news:

NYC blocked the 50 Revel Teslas

New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) voted five-to-one* to block the issuance of new for-hire vehicle licenses for electric vehicles.

*cheers to Bill Aguado for the "yes" vote.

The idea behind capping the new licenses was initially to stem the tide of new Uber and Lyft vehicles flooding the streets, but the EVs were left as an exception to improve electrification.
Now, TLC says there are nearly 100,000 vehicle licenses, which is too large a supply for current passenger demand.” So now the EV licenses go through the same semi-annual process for validation as other vehicles. (link)

The New York Post refutes that and reports the for-hire vehicles in the city have fallen by 15k since 2018, leaving many New Yorkers struggling to find rides.

Interestingly enough, the TLC said Revel has the opportunity to "buy 50 gas vehicles, take them out of service, and replace them with Teslas" to overcome the licensing problems. (link)

Even Elon Musk left his mark on the news, tweeting out "??" as a response (tweet).

Quick conclusion through my eyes:

  1. 🦸 The climate hero, Revel, invests in charging infrastructure, all-electric ride-hail fleet and employs drivers with benefits, instead of going the Uber-way. The Biden administration gives heartfelt thanks to the hero for what it does for the world.
  2. 🦹 Then comes the villain, the TLC of New York, trying to kill the hero's efforts, all while relying on antiquated views of the world. Says it would be OK to buy 50 gas cars for it, then scrap 'em and replace them with EVs. WTF?

Having fought against the old-timers' bureaucracy myself on EVs, I wish the Revel team a lot of resilience. Thank you for pushing the electrification forward!

PS! Want to help Revel and other EV fleets? Here's a petition on Change.org to reverse the ban on EV taxi licenses: (link).

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