6 electric taxis are hitting the NYC streets

6 electric taxis are hitting the NYC streets

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, left, arrives in an electric taxicab for a press conference on Monday, April 22, 2013 in New York. Six Nissan-donated Leaf all-electric vehicles will be part of a city pilot program to see how their charging dynamic will fit into the typical 24/7 day-to-day taxi operation. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Here's the latest buzz on the streets of New York: electric taxis.

Six all-electric Nissan taxis are being used as part of a pilot program. Officials want to examine how well the operators of the car can incorporate electric charging into their daily routine. Re-charging can take about eight hours, although officials are also testing other devices that can provide partial re-charging, said a spokesman for the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has set a goal of electrifying one-third of the city's taxi fleet by 2020.

"Nissan's proven track record with electric vehicles will put us ahead of the curve in helping us answer important questions about incorporating electric taxis into the fleet," Bloomberg said.

The test vehicles are called the LEAF, an acronym for Leading Environmentally friendly Affordable Family cars.

The city previously approved the Nissan NV200 minivan as its so-called "taxi of tomorrow." That phase-in starts in the fall.

Officials expect that besides environmental benefits from not burning fuel, the electric cars can also lower maintenance costs because the vehicles have no fan belts and do not require oil changes.

"Even though the 'taxi of tomorrow' won't be on the road for another six months, we're already looking ahead to the taxi of the day after tomorrow," Bloomberg said.