More fuel efficient and with enough room for man in a top hat, this is Nissan's vision for the new black cab for London.
Every day, 300,000 passengers are transported around London by its trademark black cabs. Soon they'll have a green alternative if Nissan's new Hackney Carriage gets the go-ahead. Unveiled today, the NV200 London Taxi is claimed to be 50 percent more fuel efficient and offer significantly reduced CO2 outputs compared to current models. Eagle-eyed readers will have notice this is practically the same van chosen as New York City's "Taxi of Tomorrow", only in black instead of yellow.
Differences from its Yankee counterpart include a 1.5-liter dCi diesel engine mated to a six-speed manual capable of 53.3mpg instead of the NYC NV200's four-cylinder gasoline unit. It has also been modified to conform to archaic regulations set for London taxis. A new front suspension has thus been fitted, which required the widening of the front track, to give the London cab a 25-foot turning radius, born from the need to circle the roundabout in front of the Savoy Hotel in one smooth motion. If that's not enough old-school trivia, a London taxi also has to have enough headroom so that a gentleman can sit upright wearing a top hat. Seriously.
"Nissan is proud to be delivering a 21st century vision for one of London's most iconic vehicles," said Nissan executive VP Andy Palmer. "The 'black cab' is as much a part of the London landscape as Big Ben and, whilst there will always be a place for that familiar silhouette, the Nissan NV200 London Taxi focuses as much attention on its interior as the exterior - a better experience for drivers and passengers." Testing of an all-electric prototype e-NV200 is set to start in 2013, and all being well, could be on sale by 2014, priced below its conventionally-powered counterpart.
Every day, over 20,000 black cabs roam the capital's streets clocking a whopping 230 million miles over the course of a year between them. If these were to become EVs, Nissan claims 38,000 tons of CO2 would be removed from the air, while cabbies would save around £700 in annual fuel bills. As for potential charging issues, given the average London taxi covers around 120 miles per day, the NV200 would be more than capable of providing the requisite juice: an overnight charge and a quick 30-miunute charge at lunchtime and Bob's your uncle.