Wednesday, April 4, 2012

New News about Flying Cars and Taxis

The Terrafugia flying car, or roadable airplane, has received the high honor of NMA animation! See above video. The future is, as always, almost here.

New York City's Taxi of Tomorrow was officially debuted. This is a unique vehicle in that it has been designed specifically to be a taxi rather than some other car adapted to taxi use. Nissan hopes to market the vehicle elsewhere.

At NRDC's Switchboard blog Mark Izeman wonders about losing some of the recent environmental gains from hybrid engines with the conventionally powered Taxi of Tomorrow:
Nearly seven years ago, the first hybrid yellow taxis rolled onto the streets of New York City as part of an effort to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. Today, about5,000 of these cleaner, greener taxis—nearly 40 percent of the total fleet—are in operation, working to cut air pollution, lower noise levels, and lessen our dependence on fossil fuels. The city’s hybrid taxi program was one of the first of its kind, and has served as a model of urban sustainability for other cities around the country.
I'll note that New York's efforts to require hybrid technology was blocked by a lawsuit brought by taxi medallion owners, and the courts found that New York City does not have the authority to regulate emissions standards. This lawsuit hasn't really made waves, but it seems like a big deal as cities expand their interests in environmental regulations. In addition, it seems cities should be able to regulate pollution that affects public health, or at least they should be able to if the federal government won't and citizens want it. Here is what Mayor Bloomberg said about the lawsuit last year:
“The cities are those that are addressing real-world problems, like climate change and energy policy,” he said. “The federal government seems unable to address those issues.”

Meet Stanley Wissak, an 84 year old taxi dispatcher, who owns 140 NYC yellow cab medallions. That means he is worth about $140 million. Read about him here.

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