NYC Approves Of Hybrid, Non-Nissan Taxis

More struggles for Nissan’s “Taxi of Tomorrow.”

Nissan’s NV200 “Taxi of Tomorrow” will have to share the spotlight with more efficient models, according to a report from the New York Daily News. Since the NV200 minivan was chosen as the new exclusive taxi of New York City two years ago, there has been much controversy surrounding the van’s lack of a hybrid model. A Manhattan Supreme Court judge ruled in May that taxi operators must be given the option of purchasing a hybrid vehicle according to city law.

The NYDN report says that, in order to comply with this ruling, the Taxi and Limousine Commission passed an amended set of rules this week stating that taxi drivers can purchase a similarly-sized hybrid alternative to the NV200 minivan, at least until a hybrid NV200 is available. Nissan has stated publicly that it intends to introduce a hybrid version of the NV200 taxi for the 2015 model year, which means operators have roughly two years to exploit this loophole.

Nissan’s NV200 taxi will be phased in to the current fleet of taxis starting in October. The NV200 features passenger conveniences like USB cell phone charging and a panoramic glass roof. The van is powered by a 2.0-liter, 135-hp four-cylinder engine, although Nissan has hinted that an electric variant , based off its eNV200 prototypes, could be offered down the line.

The NV200 has faced many setbacks in its quest to become the exclusive taxi of New York City, with opponents questioning the van’s lack of handicap accessibility (Nissan has since created an accessible version with a ramp that folds out of the van’s rear hatch), unproven durability, and cost. We’ll see how things shake out when the van starts appearing on NYC streets this fall, but because of this ruling, Nissan loses its status as the exclusive New York City taxi provider.

Source: New York Daily News