The Taxi of Tomorrow is most likely coming to New York City. As it stands, on October 28th all new non-hybrid taxis in the city will be a Nissan NV200, though there are still those opposing the program. New York, get ready for a Nissan invasion.
The Nissan NV200 is more of a van than a traditional sedan that is routinely used as cabs, and was the winner of the Taxi of Tomorrow contest. The Nissan NV200 was designed from the inside out using input from New York taxi drivers, medallion holders, and passengers. The NV200s offer interesting features such as more space for passengers, increased cargo room, and even a transparent roof so passengers can look up at the city. An electric version is even in the works specifically for taxi and delivery use.
So how is the NV200 on gas mileage? Well, about 24 miles per gallon in the city, which isn’t bad, but it’s not great either. The NV200 will only be replacing non hybrid cabs in the city however, and some NYC taxi driver operators aren’t happy with being told what to buy.
Lawsuits to prevent implementation of the Taxi of Tomorrow have been filed, claiming the vehicle is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act because it is not wheelchair accessible, although the Nissan NV200 can be retrofitted. Additionally, a few NYC taxi fleets have planned to retire their current no- hybrid cabs early and purchase new cabs that are not Nissan NV200s, likely using the old Crown Vics for as long as possible. With these new cabs in operation before the deadline, implementation of the 3 to 5 year plan could take much longer.
So why all the fuss over the NV200s? Well historically it seems that any change that impacts the The Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade is met with opposition – these are the guys who fought mandatory air conditioning in cabs. Concerning the NV200, it is one part money and one part politics. The Greater New York Taxi Association, a group of medallion owners that oppose the plan, is flat out accusing NYC of exceeding its authority by mandating that operators buy a Taxi of Tomorrow. They don’t want to be told what cars they have to buy, and they have a point.
As for politics, Bloomberg is on his way out of office, so any delay of the Taxi of Tomorrow implementation by a court of law could push the project off to the next administration, where it might get struck down or just lose traction and fall flat. The kicker here is that the Taxi of Tomorrow was selected by taxi operators and users. People who use cab services want this vehicle!
The good news is the people will most likely get what they want; even with the opposition mass production of Nissan NV200 began in August at Nissan’s assembly plant in Cuernavaca, Mexico. That is a good indication that the vehicles will soon hit the roads. As October 28th approaches keep your eyes open in NYC, your next ride could be in a Taxi of Tomorrow.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison