Starting in October 2013, there will be a gradual replacement of the fleet of taxis in New York City—some 13,000—a preponderance of which are Ford Crown Victorias, sedans that are no longer in production, will be replaced by the “Taxi of Tomorrow,” a version of the Nissan NV Compact Cargo Van, the likes of which you can have in your driveway. There are some differences, beyond the yellow paint scheme of the NYC cabs. For example, the one that is available from a certified Nissan Commercial Vehicle dealer doesn’t have seats outside of the front buckets. All of the room in the back—112.7-cu.-ft.—is specifically designed for cargo, not passengers.
Taxi of Tomorrow
NV200 Cargo of Today
The vehicle is powered by a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine that provides 131 hp @ 5,200 rpm and 139 lb-ft of torque.
One of the problems that some cab companies in New York are having is that the NV200 taxi doesn’t have a hybrid option. But according to Nissan of America’s Peter Bedrosian, senior manager, product planning, work is underway to get a hybrid system for the vehicle.
It’s worth noting that Nissan is plenty familiar with hybrids. The fourth-generation Pathfinder CUV introduced earlier this year is available with a hybrid option; it consists of a supercharged 2.5-liter gasoline engine mated with a 15-kW electric motor.
Pathfinder Hybrid System
Bedrosian says that the real end game for taxis is electric drive. Again, with the LEAF there is a whole lot of knowhow in that technology for Nissan. The company has six LEAFs in NYC that are undergoing testing in fleet conditions.
One issue that they’ve discovered vis-à-vis EVs for cabs is the importance of infrastructure. That is, finding convenient places where charge stations can be installed that the cabbies can readily access. “There not about to let us tear up Fifth Avenue,” Bedrosian quips.
Still, when you consider that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is rather insistent on reducing New York’s overall CO2 emissions as well as large sugared drink consumption, chances are good that as long as he’s in office, a charging station in the middle of Time Square isn’t outside the realm of possibility.
So, while NYC undergoes the transformation to the Taxi of Tomorrow over the next several years, there’s the Nissan NV200 Cargo Van available for everyone today.