Revel’s plans for a Tesla Model Y ride-hailing fleet in NYC could be dead before it even begins [Update]

Revel
Image via Revel

Revel made headlines in April when it announced it was planning to launch a ride-hailing service in New York City (NYC) with a fleet of 50 Tesla Model Y vehicles.

In a strange twist this week, the service could die before it even has the opportunity to hit the streets.

Citing concerns over congestion and increased emissions within the city, the TLC stopped allowing new ride-hailing licenses to be issued in 2019. However there was an exemption in place for electric vehicles. It was this exemption that Revel believed would give them the green light to deploy their fleet of electric Model Y’s.

Not so fast according to the TLC. They say the exemption was put in place to allow currently licensed vehicles to switch to electric, and not to license new ones.

To avoid confusion, the committee will vote on whether to eliminate the exemption at a meeting on Tuesday. But it appears they have already made up their minds.

According to a posting to their website on Monday, more than 24 hours before the vote will take place, the rule was seemingly already adopted.

“A public hearing was held virtually by the TLC and the rule was adopted by the Commission at the June 22, 2021 Commission meeting.” (via NYPost)

UPDATE June 22: In a 5-1 vote on Tuesday, the TLC voted to remove the EV exemption, thereby ending Revel’s hopes of launching their service. Following the vote Revel CEO Fran Reig voiced his displeasure, saying the TLC didn’t even deliberate before making the decision, only strengthening the belief the commission had already made its decision.

“The Commissioners sat through almost three hours of testimony on all sides yet asked zero questions and spent zero time deliberating before making a policy decision with profound consequences,” Reig said in a statement after the vote. “The TLC never intended to consider what drivers and New Yorkers had to say, and only cared about jamming through this vote on Primary Day with as little scrutiny as possible.” (via NY Post)

Even though it looks like someone is holding the TLCs feet to the fire behind the scenes, spokesperson Allan Fromberg called it a “red herring” to voice concerns over the use of the past tense. He said requirements under the City Administrative Procedure Act means they must post a final version online.

The TLC says there is a workaround for Revel if the vote does go ahead as planned passes. They have been told to purchase 50 gas cars and replace them with the Model Y’s.

Revel still believes it is acting within the rules of the program, and vows to forge ahead and launch their service anyway.

“We are going to be on the streets because we know the law is completely on our side. Never in Revel’s history have we operated illegally,” Revel CEO Frank Reig said.

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