Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley) researchers recently studied and built data from more than 10 million taxi trips, and developed a model to analyze and review taxi trips offered by automated electric vehicles in Manhattan, New York. The results? The study found that automated electric vehicles could get the job done at a lower cost while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 73 percent.

One of the study’s authors, Jeffrey Greenblatt, said, “The [environmental] industry is focusing on the personal car market, trying to make the [mileage] range as large as possible [for these automated electric vehicles]. The standard is now 200 miles. We suspected you wouldn’t need as much for taxis. We found plenty of times during the day when a portion of taxis could slip off to recharge, even if just for a few minutes. This greatly reduces the need to have a big battery and therefore drives costs down. It is depending on having a fairly dense charging network.”

The model that researchers developed from this study simulates the movement of 7,000 taxis around Manhattan throughout the day, and analyzes the cost of service and optimal placement of vehicle chargers. The study found that costs would be lowest with a battery range of 50-90 miles.

The study, “Cost, Energy, and Environmental Impact of Automated Electric Taxi Fleets in Manhattan,” can be accessed here.