Nissan Wins New York’s Taxi of Tomorrow Competition with NV200

The Nissan NV200 has just been chosen as New York City’s “Taxi of Tomorrow.” Entered along with two other vehicles, including Ford’s Transit Connect and Turkish automaker Karsan’s V1, the NV200 was picked by the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission after a selection process that lasted two years. Destined to replace New York’s existing taxi fleet, the NV200 will become the city’s exclusive taxi beginning in 2013.

Winning the competition means Nissan receives a 10-year contract as the official supplier of taxis for the city, which currently employs more than 13,000 yellow cabs. “The NV200 taxi will give Nissan the opportunity to showcase our dedication to vehicle quality and urban mobility to more than 600,000 passengers every day,” said Carlos Tavares, Chairman of Nissan Americas.

Essentially a modified form of Nissan’s compact commercial van, the NV200 taxi was chosen for its versatility, safety and standard features. Engineered with fuel efficiency and low emissions in mind, New York’s new cab will be powered by a 2.0-liter I-4 engine. Cabin volume is claimed to also be significantly increased over current taxis, accommodating up to four passengers with luggage. A transparent roof panel will offer passengers a view of New York’s skyline. Or, if they’re tired of the view, convenience features like overhead reading lights and a mobile charging station with 12-volt outlet and two USB ports allow passengers to occupy themselves with a book or mobile device.

Although its list of features is pretty impressive for a fleet vehicle, the NV200 wasn’t the early odds-on favorite of the competition. In fact, as we reported last year, there were no clear favorites among the designs submitted. The Turkish Karsan V1 found support from advocates for the disabled, since that vehicle would have been handicapped-accessible, while the Ford Transit Connect found favor with fleet managers. Karsan also promised local assembly of the V1 in Brooklyn with union labor, to help sweeten the bid. Whether Nissan truly is the superior taxi design may not be known until years down the line. Regardless, passengers will most likely consider the NV200 a big improvement in versatility and practicality over the current Ford Crown Victoria-based taxis running around New York City today.

Source: Nissan, New York Daily News