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The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, which regulates the for-hire vehicles, voted on Tuesday to stop issuing new for-hire licenses for electric vehicles (EVs), essentially blocking the efforts of EV transit startup Revel to deploy 50 Teslas unless it buys 50 gasoline vehicles first and swaps their licenses for EVs.
In a 5-1 vote on Tuesday, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) decided to stop issuing new EV for-hire licenses due to concerns about traffic jams and the potential economic impact on the sector.
"It is not sustainable to allow an unlimited number of new vehicles to the road in a city that is all too familiar with the choke of traffic congestion," TLC Chair Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk said during the hearing on Tuesday, as carried by the New York Post.
The news was met with dismay by Elon Musk on Twitter and by the company, Revel, which was looking to roll out an all-EV fleet of taxis in New York City.
The Commission's effort on Tuesday was "to stifle innovation and Revel's major investment in NYC drivers, EV fast-charging infrastructure, and an all-electric fleet that *replaces* gas-powered for-hire vehicles," the company said.
Revel was planning to deploy 50 Tesla Model Y taxis in New York, but it cannot do it now without breaking the new regulation if it doesn't buy gas-powered cars whose licenses it could swap with EVs.
Revel's chief executive Frank Reig criticized the Commission's decision in a speech at the hearing. Before Tuesday's rule change, Revel's plan for all-EV fleet would have been allowed.
"The TLC has slow-walked our applications for months. It's clear now what the purpose of these delays was; to get to today, and change this entire licensing scheme, to avoid licensing our 50 EVs," Reig said.
"We're offering exactly what this commission has been asking for years: fair treatment and stable pay for drivers, who are all W-2 employees with benefits, and a plan to drive EV adoption in the City – not by 2030, but today. This is progress that can't, and won't, wait," Reig said, urging the commission to reconsider the "short-sighted" rule change.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com