(Source: Nissan Motor Co.)

  (Source: Nissan Motor Co.)

Nissan NV200
The Nissan NV200 was selected over two other finalists, which were Ford Motor Co. and Karsan models

During a City Hall press briefing in New York City today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Nissan Americas Chairman Carlos Tavares announced that the Nissan NV200 has been selected as the "Taxi of Tomorrow."

In 2007, Bloomberg set a goal to make 13,000 of NYC's taxi's hybrids by 2012 in a project called the "Taxi of Tomorrow." This decision was made after a Ford plant in Canada, which was known for making Crown Victoria's and Lincoln Town cars, had decided to shut down. At that time, only 375 taxis were hybrids while 11,700 Crown Victoria taxis were in operation. Today, over 4,300 NYC cabs are hybrids. Some of the fuel-efficient taxis that can be seen on the road are Altima, Escape, and Camry Hybrids. 

In 2008, taxi owners filed a lawsuit against NYC in an effort to stop Bloomberg's plan to mandate all taxi drivers to purchase hybrids. This led to a legal battle between the city and the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade that went through a series of lower courts. Lower courts ruled, "The power to regulate emission standards belongs to the federal government." The Supreme Court refused to hear NYC's appeal in early 2011. 

Bloomberg then said he would lobby Congress to adjust the law in which the ruling was based on, proposing a minimum fuel efficiency of 25 mpg in all city cabs and that all taxicab owners with hybrids could charge higher leases on their cabs -- both proposals were shot down by Judge Paul A. Crotty of Federal District Court in Manhattan. Other U.S. cities joined NYC's appeal with concern for the environment, and the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission even held a contest to find a replacement taxi vehicle by 2014. 

Two years later, the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission has has made its selection, and it chose the Nissan NV200. "Nissan is proud to provide the next generation of taxis for the city of New York," said Tavares. "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." 

The Nissan NV200 taxi will be produced at Nissan’s plant in Cuernavaca, Mexico. The retail price (MSRP) will be about $29,000, and the taxis will feature a 2.0L 4-cylinder powertrain, room for four passengers as well as luggage, a low-annoyance horn, lights that indicate when the vehicle is honking, overhead reading lights, sliding doors with an entry step and grab handles, and independently-controlled rear air conditioning. In addition, the vehicles will feature a grape phenol-coated air filter, six-way adjustable driving seats for comfort, a transparent roof panel, a driver's navigation and telematics system, and a mobile charging station complete with two USB plugs and a 12V electrical outlet.

For safety, the Nissan NV200 will feature front and rear-seat occupant curtain airbags, lights that indicate when taxi doors are opening, and standard traction control as well as Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC).

The Nissan NV200 was selected over two other finalists, which were Ford Motor Co. and Karsan models. After using Ford's Crown Victoria's for years, one has to wonder why NYC didn't choose one of the Big Three automobile manufacturers to supply the new taxi cab fleet. 

When the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission was initially searching for a replacement taxi vehicle, Ford even noted that it would be happy to supply the Escape Hybrid or Transit Connect Van

"The city's Taxi of Tomorrow is the Nissan NV200 - and it's going to be the safest, most comfortable and most convenient cab the city has ever had," said Bloomberg. "We started this process to leverage our taxi industry's purchasing power to get the highest quality taxi, one that can expand and redefine the legendary image of New York City taxicabs. The new taxis will be custom-designed to meet the specific demands of carrying 600,000 passengers a day in New York City traffic and the vehicle meets the top priorities identified by the public in our online survey." 

Nissan also plans to work with NYC and taxi owners on a pilot program that studies how electric vehicles work as taxis. 

In 2012, Nissan will equip six taxi owners with 100 percent electric Nissan Leaf EVs for testing. In addition, charging stations will be set-up to encourage electric vehicle adoption. 

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