Where better to introduce the taxi version of the Nissan NV200 than New York City? After all, the Big Apple has over 13,000 taxis carrying 600,000 people every day, racking up a cumulative 500 million miles annually.
From fall 2013, the so-called “Taxi of Tomorrow” will be the official, exclusive taxi of New York City. It’s based on the Nissan NV200, which is a small cargo or passenger van that slots below the heavy-duty NV1500, NV2500, and NV3500 vans. It’s powered by a 2.0-liter inline-four engine that is supposed to be much more fuel efficient than the thirsty six- and eight-cylinder engines in current taxis.
Because it was uniquely designed for taxi duty, the Nissan NV200 has a number of special features. The “low-annoyance” horn, for instance, is quieter than usual horns, and has an exterior light so New York City police can easily identify any driver making excessive noise. The headliner has activated carbon to help eliminate odors, while the seat fabrics have a special antimicrobial covering to appease the germ-phobic. Nissan NV200 drivers will enjoy a standard navigation system with backup camera.
The passenger compartment has seating for three (a fourth passenger can sit next to the driver), curtain airbags, a flat floor, and a glass roof so tourists can better gape at the New York City skyline. The rear windows can be opened, and passengers have separate climate controls. Large sliding doors make for easier entrance and exit, and also should reduce the likelihood of injuries from doors slamming into pedestrians and cyclists. The passengers also can take advantage of two USB ports to charge their gadgets while riding.
The Nissan NV200 will cost $29,700 in taxi form when it goes on sale to fleets at the end of next year. The NV200 also will be sold as a cargo van to the general public. Nissan will eventually roll out a small fleet of all-electric NV200s, which would further reduce pollution in New York. To help evaluate how electric taxis might work, the company is donating six Leaf electric cars to selected taxi owners in New York City.