Toyota Ever-Better Expedition Meets NYC Taxi Drivers
Just over a month ago, Toyota kicked off its Ever-Better Expedition at the grounds of its new headquarters in Plano, Texas. In total, 140 Toyota engineers and team members set off on a 110-day journey around the country to test Toyota cars in real life and to learn from real Toyota owners, all in an effort to make ever-better cars in the future. Recently, the tour hit NYC, where drivers of Toyota cabs gave valuable feedback to team members that will help them build better, more reliable vehicles moving forward. Check out the week 4 recap video to see the taxis in action:
Toyota’s New York taxi fleet is one of North America’s largest vehicle fleets, and drivers pilot the vehicles every day, making them the ideal subjects for Toyota engineers to shadow in order to gain valuable feedback. The vehicles operate on 24-hour schedules, with two drivers taking 12-hour shifts per vehicle. The typical New York City taxi drives anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 miles every year, and drivers are responsible for splitting the maintenance costs. The taxis in question are part of a 900-car Toyota fleet owned by All Taxi.
One driver, Gabriel, currently drives a 2013 Toyota Prius v which has 103,000 miles on the odometer. Compared to the sedan cabs of old, the Prius v saves him a ton of money on gasoline, and has much more cargo space that makes it ideal for airport trips. Another driver wasn’t a fan of his Toyota taxi’s front-only air conditioning system, and used a flexible dryer hose and some duct tape to fashion his own rear-seat cooling system. Note for Toyota engineers—rear-seat air ducts are a must for vehicles on hot, sweaty days.
Gabriel also told the Toyota engineers that the cab tends to slip a little on manhole covers and other shiny surfaces when it’s wet out and he brakes. Whether or not this would be an issue for regular Prius vehicles is unknown, since taxis are fitted with heavier shocks to account for the additional weight from passengers and luggage. But if nothing else, it’s something to look out for in future vehicle design.
News Source: PSFK