, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 785–818 | Cite as

The return on investment for taxi companies transitioning to electric vehicles

A case study in San Francisco
  • Tommy CarpenterEmail author
  • Andrew R. Curtis
  • S. Keshav


We study whether taxi companies can simultaneously save petroleum and money by transitioning to electric vehicles. We propose a process to compute the return on investment of transitioning a taxi corporation’s fleet to electric vehicles. We use Bayesian data analysis to infer the revenue changes associated with the transition. We do not make any assumptions about the vehicles’ mobility patterns; instead, we use a time-series of GPS coordinates of the company’s existing petroleum-based vehicles to derive our conclusions. As a case study, we apply our process to a major taxi corporation, Yellow Cab San Francisco (YCSF). Using current prices, we find that transitioning their fleet to battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles is profitable for the company. Furthermore, given that gasoline prices in San Francisco are only 5.4 % higher than the rest of the United States, but electricity prices are 75 % higher; taxi companies with similar practices and mobility patterns in other cities are likely to profit more than YCSF by transitioning to electric vehicles.


Electric vehicles Bayesian networks Public transportation Taxis 



The authors would like to acknowledge Jason Baek, Augustin Chaintreau, Earl Oliver, Lisa Patel, and Dr. Catherine Rosenberg for their assistance with this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Computer ScienceUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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