Regulators usually do a good enough job when it comes to keeping big companies on a leash but sometimes they make decisions that just force you to raise an eyebrow. New York City regulators just banned Tesla from putting out electric taxis and the reason they gave will astound you. Hey, even Elon Musk was left speechless on the decision.
Tesla had recently partnered with electric scooter company Revel and planned to launch a fleet of Tesla Taxis with the Tesla Model Y as the base. It was a good decision, getting old fossil fuel-powered taxis out and in with the climate-friendly electric taxis. However, the plan didn’t sit well with the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission or TLC. The TLC blocked the companies from buying licenses for the 50 vehicles this Tuesday.
Their ruling stated that Tesla and Revel would have to buy the licenses for 50 gas-powered vehicles instead. I think Musk’s reaction on Twitter might be the most common reaction to this that anyone could make. You can see his tweet below. Just a simple “??” enough to perfectly capture anyone’s reaction to this ruling.
According to the New York Post, the commission voted 5 to 1 in favor of blocking the fleet of Tesla taxis from hitting the streets. The companies now need to purchase and license 50 internal combustion engine vehicles and then transfer those licenses to the electric Model Ys. Is that hard to make proper rules?
Revel CEO, Frank Reig, also spoke out about this issue saying that “Rushing to vote on a rule change that keeps EVs off the street and threatens jobs — with no analysis, on an election day, two months ahead of a scheduled review — raises a lot of questions”. TLC Commissioner Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk, however, said that it was nothing personal against Tesla or Revel or even electric cars in general.
She said that “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. What we will not allow is the opportunity for another corporation — venture capitalists or otherwise — to flood our streets with additional cars”.
The traffic congestion reason kind of feels like an excuse but Revel did say that it will launch Tesla Taxis despite the ban.