Decentralized Mobility Ecosystem

Market Solutions for 21st Century Electrified Mobility

Project Overview

Clean Fuels Ohio, in partnership with Columbus Yellow Cab and numerous local and national partners, is pleased to present the Decentralized Mobility Ecosystem project. This project will create a first-of-a-kind, decentralized and electrified mobility ecosystem, leveraging Columbus Yellow Cab’s growing fleet of electric vehicles to bring mobility hubs to three areas of the Columbus, Ohio region. These mobility hubs will consist of publicly available EVs and charging infrastructure owned by Columbus Yellow Cab for use by its taxicab drivers, professionally employed drivers for transportation services and networks, and any licensed driver for personal use. The vehicles will be accessible through the Columbus Yellow Cab app where drivers can see all available mobility hub vehicles, conduct digital transactions, and access EV and EVSE operation through keyless entry.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selected Clean Fuels Ohio for this awarded project, conducted from 2019 to 2022, to explore new, innovative solutions to transportation, energy, and technology integration challenges unique to a geographic area targeting end-user groups that may currently be underserved by new fuels or technologies with potential for replication in other areas across the country.

Project Purpose

While EVs offer great potential for economic, energy security, and sustainability benefits, transportation services fleets (taxi. TNCs, and car sharing services, etc.) have not identified a business model to minimize financial and operational risks for users while maximizing vehicle usage and return on investment for the financial viability of owners. Each of the different transportation service provider models have implicit structural barriers that make vehicle electrification a challenge. The goal of this project is to demonstrate an operationally and economically successful model for EV adoption and charging station deployment in transportation service fleets (taxis, car-sharing fleets, Transportation Network Companies, etc.) and major parking providers (universities, airports, hotels, corporate campuses, etc.).

The Decentralized Mobility Ecosystem hubs deployed in this project will provide solutions to minimize the financial risks of EV usage for drivers (both personal and professional), while strategically locating mobility hubs to maximize EV utilization across multiple use cases (taxi, TNC, delivery, car-sharing). This innovative project is designed to demonstrate solutions to the main barriers to vehicle electrification in the mobility and transportation services sectors, as well as create and disseminate a complete “Replication Playbook.” This will include a fully framed business plan, design and engineering plans for implementation, new commercialized software applications/solutions for turn-key scaling, marketing tools, and more for transportation fleet or parking services provider to adopt.

Approach and Objectives

The Decentralized Mobility Ecosystem hubs deployed in this project are specifically designed to target end-user groups that are currently underserved by mobility service providers in general and electric vehicles in particular. This project is creating a first-of-a-kind, decentralized and electrified mobility ecosystem, leveraging Columbus Yellow Cab’s growing fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) to bring mobility hubs to three quadrants of the Columbus Region: the central region, southside region, and the westside region. Two of three quadrants are located in low-moderate income communities where many of Columbus Yellow Cab’s current base of 300+ drivers reside. This decentralized network will provide increased access to vehicle mobility services, putting vehicles where drivers and users need them and eliminating stem miles, time, and cost of commutes to and from CYC’s current central fleet headquarters. What’s more, placing EV Mobility Hubs in these underserved communities will offer residents increased employment opportunities as professional drivers, as well as offering community members access to car sharing services for personal transportation needs.

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Unique Challenges to Improving Transportation & Mobility Services Electrification

In central Ohio, Columbus Yellow Cab currently provides rides for more than one million passengers a year. However, based on financial transaction data, every year 7.2 million passengers in central Ohio get rides through TNCs and other ride and car sharing services – all currently in conventionally fueled vehicles. These types of multiplication factors are in play nationwide, with larger cities seeing even more proportional demand for TNCs beyond traditional taxis and transit. While it is essential to electrify traditional transit and taxi services, providing a pathway for the efficient electrification of these other transportation services fleets is crucial for maximizing economic and environmental sustainability.

Led by Clean Fuels Ohio and CYC, the project seeks to address unique challenges surrounding the intersection between electrification planning, mobility and transportation services, community engagement, and environmental and economic sustainability.

  1. Maximizing EV utilization across all use cases: Building on CYC’s robust taxicab fleet operations to guarantee an anchor user base and implementing strategic mobility hub site location to maximize EV utilization across all use cases (taxi, TNC/TSP, car-sharing, delivery, rental cars, personal use, etc.) through a unified neutral app platform for EV access while eliminating personal financial risks of EV use for drivers
  2. Enabling increased EV & EVSE access to underserved groups focusing on equity & inclusion using an inclusive and equitable focused lens to overcome barriers of electrification in communities with limited e-mobility/transportation service options and to address educational and employment opportunities, health risks, and environmental justice concerns.

This project will demonstrate how a decentralized mobility platform leverages the success of a current taxi business to implement increased services and environmental benefits for users as well as providing lower per mile operational costs, lower fleet total cost of ownership, and multiple new vehicle-use cases to supplement a traditional taxi business – all while complementing other regional transportation service providers. This project is designed to provide proven pathways to overcome these barriers with innovative solutions and impactful models for replication. The Decentralized Mobility Ecosystem project will deploy EV mobility hubs to provide solutions to minimize financial risks of EV usage for drivers (both personal and professional), while strategically locating mobility hubs to maximize EV utilization across all possible use cases (taxi, TNC, delivery, car-sharing). This innovative project is designed to demonstrate solutions to the main barriers to vehicle electrification in the mobility and transportation services sectors and enable replication and scale nationwide.

Project Team

This project is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the Vehicle Technologies Office Award Number DE-EE0008894.

Project Leads

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About Columbus Yellow Cab

Columbus Yellow Cab, a thriving traditional taxi services company in central Ohio, provides transportation services to over a million passengers per year throughout the region. CYC has operated as a centralized fleet model requiring all cab drivers to commute daily to a central fleet facility to pick up and drop off cabs for operations. Throughout its 90-year history, CYC strives for continuous improvement and innovation and is doing so today with a growing fleet of EVs and charging stations.

Project Partners

Additional Resources

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Download Project Summary Here

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Please contact Tim Cho, Projects Manager ([email protected]) for any inquiries.