About 70 taxi drivers in Mexico have been driving fully electric Nissan LEAFs for more than a year now as part of pilot program to test zero-emission vehicles for mass transit. That means they have been picking up and dropping off passengers without ever stopping for gas.
“The car is extremely easy to drive, a completely automatic car with no shifting of gears. The steering is very soft with no problem whatsoever. The mirrors are functional. The seats are very comfortable. It is a new car,” said Mexico City LEAF taxi driver Cristóbal Reynoso.
There are 20 Nissan LEAF taxis in central Mexico City and in another 50 in Aguascalientes. There also is a growing charging infrastructure to support operations of EV mobility in both locations – including a fast charger now in Mexico City.
“The reaction is 100% positive, once again, because it is a new car, and there are only 20 Nissan LEAF in Mexico, a big difference. People ask you why is it so different compared to other cars, how do you charge it up, how many hours can you drive, how fast is it, how do we got to be chosen to drive it. All these questions are very pleasant for me, so it is very fun,” said Reynoso.
The special taxis are part of a program called Zero Emissions Taxis. The 70 electric taxis prevent about three tons of CO2 emissions from going into the atmosphere. That’s about how much would be released from that number of conventional gas cars
The LEAF is a five-passenger vehicle that gives instant torque. The power is there when you touch the pedal. There is no lag, no revving-up or shifting gears, it just goes.
“I think the Mexican people have very good acceptance with the LEAF. I mean they are very proactive with electric cars, with green cars. They are very proud to be part of this kind of initiative here in Mexico,” said Alejandro Viveros, leader of the Zero-Emission Business Unit for Nissan Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Nissan aims to make the LEAF available for public purchase in Mexico next year. The company is working with state, local and national governments to make that happen.
“Mexico will be a key stakeholder in all the EV expansion for Nissan in the Americas,” said Viveros.
“I think there should be more electric cars. This is only the beginning, the tip of the iceberg, and as time goes by there will be much more electric cars,” said Reynoso.