Nissan has won an exclusive 10-year contract to provide taxis to New York City in a deal worth more than $1 billion. There are around 13,200 cabs roaming the streets of the City That Never Sleeps.
The Nissan NV200 is a light-duty van sold in Asia and Europe and was among three finalists in the city’s ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ competition, a two-year campaign to find a cleaner, greener iconic cab to replace the venerable Ford Crown Victoria.
The NV200 may not look as cool as the Checker Marathon or as sturdy as the Crown Victoria but it is roomier and far more fuel-efficient. The current Victoria, which makes up roughly 90% of the fleet, gets about 12 mpg. The NV200 will get around 23 mpg.
Passenger amenities include a 12-volt outlet, two USB plugs for charging gadgets, a transparent roof (with shade) for sightseeing, ample room for four passengers and antimicrobial non-stick upholstery that resembles leather. Drivers get a six-way adjustable seat, a navigation system and telematics.
Although the taxi will use a 2.0-litre petrol engine, an electric drivetrain could be installed on the same platform beginning in 2017. The car maker will also deploy six Nissan Leaf electric vehicles in the fleet at no cost to the city.
Roughly 3,000 cabs are replaced each year, and the first Taxis of Tomorrow, as they are being called, are expected to be on the streets of New York in 2013. They’ll be built in Mexico and cost about $29,000 each with all the taxi gear installed.