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Tesla Model 3 approved for New York yellow cab fleet

It's the first electric car to make the approved list.

2018 Tesla Model 3 Performance
A Model 3 cab is way cooler than a boring Camry or something.
Nick Miotke/Roadshow

The Ford Crown Victoria was the first car to became the de facto New York yellow cab icon. Then, the Toyota Camry. Next, the Tesla Model 3? It's absolutely possible, because the vehicle is now certified to operate as a NYC yellow cab.

Electrek first reported the news on Tuesday, after a tipoff from a reader who pointed out the Big Apple's latest cab roster. Roadshow confirmed the Model 3's approval with the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. 

The roster shows each vehicle and what medallion it earned. Clearly marked is the 2019 Tesla Model 3, though humorously, it doesn't earn an alternative fuel medallion. The segment is only for hybrids and natural gas-powered taxi cabs.

The news marks a small piece of automotive history: This is the first time an electric car has received approval from the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission for yellow cab duty.

There are plenty of hybrids listed (most of them Toyota models) but so far, not one EV has made the approved list. There are fewer than 40 vehicles listed for approval from the TLC, which perhaps make the honor doubly important. The approval process involves inspection from the commission for final certification.

Obviously, the Model 3 also did not earn an accessibility medallion, which plopped it straight in the unrestricted category. These kinds of taxis cannot operate for handicapped passengers.

Frankly, it's shocking no other automaker has pursued the honor of being the first EV yellow cab for NYC. The Chevrolet Bolt EV seems like a no-brainer with its spacious backseat, flat floor and hatchback utility. Nissan's NV van is also an approved yellow cab, though, the e-NV model is nowhere to be found.

Perhaps the Model 3 is just the start. It seems like the Model Y could be an even better taxi with extra cargo space onboard. And overall, with the buzz Tesla creates, it may be one reason tourists and locals hail a cab rather than an Uber or a Lyft.

Originally published Oct. 30, 12:30 p.m. PT.

Update, 1:08 p.m.: Adds confirmation from NYC TLC that Model 3 has been approved for cab duty.

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