Revel says it will launch ‘Tesla taxis’ despite NYC TLC ban

The battle over putting Tesla taxis on the streets of New York is kicking into high gear. 

Electric transportation startup Revel said late Wednesday it will launch its all-Tesla ride-share service soon — despite the fact that the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission voted this week to bar new for-hire licenses for electric vehicles. 

“You can’t stop the future and you definitely can’t stop my team,” said Revel CEO Frank Reig in a late-night Tweet on Wednesday. “We’ll be launching shortly and I can’t wait to show New Yorkers the future of rideshare!”

Under the TLC’s revised rules, the agency says Revel can only launch its electric taxi fleet if the company buys 50 for-hire gas cars and swaps their licenses out for Teslas. But Reig has slammed this requirement as “the very definition of limiting market competition.” 

It’s unclear if Reig has had a change of heart and plans to buy the gas cars — or if Revel plans to launch without the TLC’s blessing. 

handout images from Revel, showing the proposed Tesla Taxi, the EV rideshare cars
Revel has purchased 50 Tesla Model Y cars to launch its New York City taxi fleet.

Asked about Revel’s plan, a company spokesperson did not provide details. 

“The TLC’s decision doesn’t change the fact that New York City needs electric rideshare and a path to stable employment for drivers,” the spokesperson said. “Revel is exploring all options to make this a reality, and we’re confident that we’ll be able to operate legally in the near future.”

Reig is not the only tech CEO frustrated by the TLC’s decision. Billionaire Tesla chief Elon Musk weighed-in on the TLC’s decision on Wednesday, tweeting “??” in reaction to the Post’s reporting on the ban. 

The TLC did not immediately reply to a request for comment. 

Press kit / handout images from Revel, showing the proposed Tesla Taxi, the EV rideshare cars
Revel hasn’t made it clear whether it will get around the TLC’s ban by buying gas-guzzling cars and using their licenses for its Teslas, or simply by flouting the new rules.

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