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Startup Giving Famous NYC Yellow Cab An Electric Makeover

There’s nothing quite as synonymous with New York City as the iconic yellow taxi cab. The “City That Never Sleeps” is home to more than 13,000 yellow cabs, and the lineup is getting some eco-friendly additions. Gravity, a New York-based sustainable mobility startup, has added a fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) to the city’s taxi arsenal.

In December last year, the company introduced a series of Ford Mustang Mach-Es. In April, the brand showcased its second EV taxi model, the Tesla Model Y, at the New York International Auto Show in Manhattan. 

While this is not Tesla’s first appearance in the famed yellow cab, thanks to the Model 3’s introduction around 2019, Gravity said it would be the first time a Model Y bears the New York Taxi medallion. As part of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission’s new EV pilot project, the Model Ys and the Mach-Es are fully authorized and can be hailed on the street or via the e-hail app for standard fare.

Photo Courtesy gravitymobility

While the electric crossovers may cost the same as a regular taxi, Gravity has added a few bells and whistles to each vehicle.

In addition to the standard features of Tesla and Mach-E, the company will retrofit each car with a custom 22-inch touchscreen tablet. It allows passengers to adjust climate controls, watch videos, play music, and take selfies.

Gravity has also upgraded the cab’s security measures. The cars have driver-facing cameras backed by AI technology to hold drivers accountable and provide a safe and pleasant experience. The vehicle can monitor driving behavior and distractions so that passengers and others on the road have a safer journey.

Photo Courtesy gravitymobility

To power its brand’s new fleet, the company has developed charging infrastructure. Its 360-kW fast-charging system can power a 300-mile battery to 80% in roughly 30 minutes, which is on par with industry standards like Tesla’s Supercharger network. However, Gravity’s network analyzes the output from the grid or building it is attached to balance the demand for charging a vehicle with the needs of the rest of the building. This function reduces the strain on the grid by allowing cars to charge during off-peak hours, reducing electricity costs for chargers and facilities.

The EV startup has already implemented 24 fast-charging stations at Manhattan Plaza on West 42nd Street, which are also available to the public. It has plans to create more public stations across the city.

Gravity’s CEO Moshe Cohen has plenty of excitement for this groundbreaking initiative. “This is another major first for Gravity as we reinvent what it means to ride a taxi in the world’s greatest city. The Model Y is the first Tesla that really meets at all our expectations for a quality cab ride,” Cohen said. “New Yorkers and visitors are going to be able to ride in one of the most advanced vehicles ever made, with Gravity’s own customized features that give a first-class experience for a standard cab fare.”


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