Feature: Nissans Taxi of Tomorrow auto articles
Feature: Nissans Taxi of Tomorrow auto articles
Nissan NV200. Click image to enlarge

The NV200 is powered with a 2.0L, four-cylinder gasoline engine and features sliding doors for ease of entry and exit. It is, one could argue, a small minivan. A transparent roof panel is standard equipment, as is a navigation system with integrated rearview backup monitor, opening side windows and independently controlled rear air conditioning (no wi-fi, though).

There’s an active carbon-lined headliner to reduce odours and overhead reading lights along with a mobile charging station (a 12-volt power point and two USB ports).

Interestingly, the NV200 is fitted with a low-annoyance horn supplemented with flashing exterior lights. Given how frequently horns are sounded in New York City, one wonders how long it will take drivers to fit more robust alternatives.

Not everyone in attendance at the Taxi of Tomorrow event was enamoured by the vehicle, however. A group representing disabled people lamented the NV200′s inability to accommodate wheelchair-bound passengers. They believed that all examples of New York’s new taxi should be accessible to those with disabilities. And at the pre-show launch event, a New York taxi driver and Ford Escape Hybrid fan fielded questions about the NV200, suggesting that its accommodations were too cramped, and that its fuel consumption would be greater than his current vehicle.

The decision not to make all NV200s accessible is perhaps mitigated by Nissan’s partnership with the Braun Corporation, described by Nissan as “the world leader in automotive accessibility products,” to develop, engineer, and produce a solution for a wheelchair-accessible taxi in New York. The plan is to offer an optional “mobility solution” to taxi owners when the NV200 goes on sale in 2013.

Feature: Nissans Taxi of Tomorrow auto articles
Nissan NV200. Click image to enlarge

Regarding fuel economy, real-world short- and long-term numbers are not yet available, but Nissan is working with New York City officials and taxi owners to study the use of electric vehicles as taxis. The company will provide six Nissan Leafs and three charging stations to test the electrification of the taxi fleet.

Long-term plans for the “Taxi of Tomorrow” are to adapt it for other large urban markets. Depending on its success in New York City, visitors my see Nissan taxis in Sao Paulo, Moscow, or Beijing, said Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn.

Nissan sells approximately one million light commercial vehicles (LCVs) per year, and expects to double this in the mid-term future. The company introduced its first commercial vehicle, the NV, to Canada in 2012.

No plans yet for a Canadian taxi, apparently.

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