New Electric And Diesel London Taxi?

Written By Thomas Ponco on Monday, August 6, 2012 | 3:00 PM

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Published August 6, 2012

By Philippe Crowe

Nissan has unveiled a bold new vision for the future of the London “black cab” and its 300,000 daily users – the Nissan NV200 London Taxi.

The NV200 London Taxi will offer significantly reduced CO2 output compared to current taxi models – a focus in line with the Mayor Boris Johnson’s Air Quality strategy for London.

An all-electric e-NV200 concept is also set to undergo trials in the British capital.

Taxi versions of the NV200 have already been unveiled in Tokyo and it has also been chosen as the exclusive New York City “Taxi of tomorrow.”

Nissan is not new to London’s taxi history – its 2.7-liter TD27 diesel engine was chosen for the iconic LTI FX4 “Fairway” black cab, which introduced improved speed, reliability and efficiency to the London cabbie’s daily drive. The same engine was also featured in the Fairway’s successor, the TX1.

According to Nissan, the NV200 will build on this reputation.

Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, said: “Nissan already has a great footing in the London taxi market – the 2.7-litre diesel that featured in some of the early taxis was one of the greatest engines ever put in a cab. From what I’ve seen of the 200 London Taxi, it ticks all the right boxes. It’s important that it looks like a cab, is comfortable with good ingress and egress and is reliable. If the fuel consumption figures are as promised, it will be a big seller.”

Designed from the inside out for the well-being of passengers, drivers and even other road users, the NV200 London Taxi is more efficient and more environmentally considerate than current “black cab” models, while delivering more comfort, space and convenience for occupants. A particular focus was also placed on providing for passengers with mobility issues.

Durable and reliable, the Nissan NV200 London Taxi is based on the company’s multipurpose NV200 compact van launched at the end of 2009.

The Nissan NV200 London Taxi seats five adults – three on a rear bench with two on rear-facing, fold-down seats. The front passenger seat has been removed to create space for luggage.

A stand-out feature is the taxi’s sliding passenger doors, which were developed for easy open and close. They are also much safer for pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles because they do not swing out to create a potential obstruction.

The diesel version of the Nissan NV200 London Taxi is expected to be competitively priced below the new TX4 – the London Taxi Company’s current model - and will be available through a designated “specialist” Nissan dealer.

According to Nissan, the NV200 also delivers significantly improved running costs than alternative London cabs. The model’s 1.5 dCi 89 horsepower EuroV, 6-speed manual drivetrain achieves 53.3 mpg on a combined cycle meaning an almost 50-percent fuel saving over the most efficient TX4, with its combined cycle figure of 35.3mpg.

With a focus on improving air quality in the city, the NV200 London Taxi’s Euro V engine only emits up to 138g/km of CO2, compared with 209g/km from the “greenest” TX4 model.

Naturally, an all-electric version could have an even bigger impact on London’s air quality.

Discussions with all the stakeholders will continue to try and make an e-NV200 a realistic proposition by increasing investment in charging infrastructure.

Subject to final testing, including a crash-test, the diesel-powered Nissan NV200 aims to receive full London Taxi certification later this year.

The extensive modifications to the standard NV200 ensure the model fully conforms to the regulations set in the TfL London Taxi Conditions of Fitness. These include being able to accommodate a wheelchair passenger and achieve a 7.6 meter (25 foot) turning-circle – a legal requirement for all Hackney carriages, said to originate from the small roundabout in front of the famous Savoy Hotel on The Strand that taxis needed to round in one maneuver.

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