The New York fleet, the largest taxicab fleet in the U.S., has selected Nissan to design and supply the next-generation “Taxi of Tomorrow.”
The announcement comes after two years of a rigorous selection process to decide upon a purpose-built vehicle. The other two finalists were Ford and Karsan, a Turkish vehicle manufacturer.
The NV200 taxi, a modified version of a compact commercial vehicle currently available in such global markets as Japan, Europe and China, will be produced for North America at Nissan’s facility in Cuernavaca, Mexico. With all planned standard features, the vehicle should cost around US$29,000.
As part of the program, Nissan will also work with the city and with taxi owners on a pilot program to study the use of electric vehicles as taxis. The automaker will provide up to six all-electric Nissan Leafs to taxi owners for testing in 2012, along with charging stations to support their use.
Approximately 600,000 passengers use taxicabs in New York each day. The vehicle’s planned innovations include a 2.0-litre four-cylinder powertrain, ample room for four passengers and their luggage, a “low-annoyance” horn with exterior lights that indicate when the vehicle is honking, sliding doors with entry step and grab handles, a transparent roof panel with shade, independently-controlled rear air conditioning, environmentally-friendly and easy-to-clean simulated leather fabric with antimicrobial properties, overhead reading lights and floor lighting, lights that alert other road users when the cab doors are opening, a 12-volt charging outlet and two USB plugs, and standard driver’s navigation and telematics systems.
The Nissan NV200 will be the next New York City taxicab for ten years, beginning in 2013.