There are now hundreds of taxis around the world using the Tesla Model S and X. There are a few services using the vehicles in the US, but Tesla’s vehicles are particularly popular with taxis in the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway, where the very first Tesla Taxi went into service in 2013.
Another early Tesla Taxi has been in operation since March 2014 in Quebec City. It is owned and operated by Christian Roy. Last weekend, Christian passed the 100,000 miles mark on his Model S 85. For the occasion, we reached out to him in order to summarize his experience as one of the first Tesla Taxis in the world and very first in North America.
After learning of the first taxi using a Tesla Model S in Norway, Christian, himself a longtime taxi driver, did the math and realized it was feasible, especially since pushing the limits of his 300,000+ miles Subaru Legacy was starting to cost him.
Within a month of learning about the first Tesla taxi in Norway, Christian went ahead and refinanced his taxi license in order to buy his own Model S 85, which he received in February 2014.
It wasn’t cheap. Fortunately for him, the exchange rate in Canada was more advantageous in 2014 then it is now, and he ended up paying $97,000 (~$75,400 USD) for the vehicle ($1,550 monthly payments for 5 years).
Christian says that the expensive monthly payments are dwarfed by the money he saves on gas and maintenance.
Unlike several other Tesla taxis, like the ones in Amsterdam, Christian doesn’t have the luxury of having a Supercharger around his work. He operates his taxi in Quebec City and the closest Tesla Supercharger is in Drummondville about 94 miles (152 km) from the capital city.
While a Supercharger in the region would be welcomed, especially during our Canadian winters, it’s not an issue for Christian most of the time.
The Model S 85’s range is enough to cover his days and he charges the vehicle at home at night. He installed a meter to keep track of his consumption and here’s what it was showing when he reached 100,000 miles over the weekend:
Thanks to Hydro Quebec’s cheap hydro-electricity, it cost Christian only $4,707 CAD ($3,660 USD) to travel 100,000 miles on 49,548 kWh charging at home over 2 years. It costs him about 9.5 cents (7 cents USD) per kWh with taxes.
On the other hand, it would often cost him $700 per month in gas when he was operating his Subaru Legacy. In the past, that $4,707 CAD would have lasted only a few months instead of a few years.
Christian says that he is also saving on maintenance. All he had to pay after 100,000 miles on his Tesla is a few set of tires, and recently he had to change the brakes, bearings, and parts of the suspension, which was considered normal wear after 100,000 miles.
He estimates that he had to pay over $20,000 in repairs on his previous vehicle before buying his Tesla.
You can follow Christian on Instagram where he regularly posts beautiful pictures of his taxi around Quebec City
What’s next for the first Tesla Taxi in North America?
Christian says that he still has 3 years of payments left on his Tesla and after that, he plans to take advantage of Tesla’s 8-year and unlimited miles warranty for the powertrain, which means the motor and battery pack of his Model S are covered until 2022.
Admittedly, he is already looking at what Tesla is coming up with and he is likely to get tempted with something new in the next few years. He is also closely following developments in autonomous driving, which will undoubtedly affect his business at some point in the future.
In the meantime, Christian enjoys spending his days in his Tesla (something I assume would make a lot of Electrek readers jealous) and he encourages other taxi drivers to do the math and see if they can make the jump to electric.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.