Electric Vehicle Fleet Adoption


Case Study: Columbus Yellow Cab Fleet Electrification

June 13th, 2024

Columbus Yellow Cab has developed a start-up mindset and takes calculated risks that have kept the company profitable and relevant in a rapidly changing industry. The 90-year-old company, helmed by CEO and owner Morgan Kauffman, pushes the boundaries of technology within their framework of customer-first thinking and empowerment, where customers are the passengers but also the drivers and co-workers. 

A case study on Columbus Yellow Cab was published by the Harvard University Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure Graduate School of Design in April 2019. The case study focuses on the electrification of the 200 vehicles of the Columbus Yellow Cab taxi fleet. 

In July 2018, Smart Columbus awarded $30,000 in rebate funding to help Columbus Yellow Cab replace 10 internal combustion engine vehicles in its fleet with new electric taxis. The 10 rebates were awarded through the Smart Columbus Transportation Service Provider Battery Electric Vehicle Rebate Program and funded by the $10 million grant awarded to Columbus by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation as the winner of the Smart City Challenge. In its rebate application, Columbus Yellow Cab demonstrated commitment to convert its fleet to electric vehicles (EVs), educate drivers and riders on the benefits of EVs and share data with Smart Columbus, earning 10 rebates of $3,000 each.

As part of the Columbus Yellow Cab growth and sustainability strategy, the company has created programs to trial the use of EVs in taxi fleets, solar charging, partnerships for location and electric vehicle charging, a decentralized taxi model, keyless entry and reservation mobile app for drivers, a mobile app for customers to summon a taxi and car washing with limited water and organic waste.

Yellow Cab Fleet

The scope of this case study includes:

  • the planning and implementation of the first 10 new EVs and eight mobile solar charging units with 16 Level-2 ports (240 volts), introduced in 2018
  • the use of three existing permanent grid-powered Level-2 charging ports
  • deploying DC Fast Charging units in key locations in agreement with the City of Columbus in early 2019
  • the implementation of the Smart Columbus Fleet Electrification plan that will contribute to emissions reductions in the city of Columbus

The case study aims to contribute to the understanding of the variables affecting the business case for electrifying the Columbus Yellow Cab fleet, through the identification of barriers (such as risks, availability of charging, customization), Columbus Yellow Cab strategy (vehicle selection, test-as-we-go methodology, staggered approach), implementation considerations and best practices. 

Read the full Harvard Case Study below.


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