Nissan has unveiled details of the purpose built NV200 London Taxi, which the company claim offer a twenty-first century vision for the black cab, by being more efficient and environmentally considerate than most current models while offering increased comfort, space and convenience for occupants.
The new design will join the recently revised Mercedes-Benz Vito Taxi in challenging the established iconic designs from London Taxi Company for passenger fares and is expected to be 50 per cent more fuel efficient than traditional black cab models, while also offering a 50% reduction in C02 emissions and 80 per cent less particulate gasses – placing it in line with the Mayor Boris Johnson’s Air Quality strategy for London.
The Japanese firm has worked closely with the Mayor’s office during conception and development stages of the NV200 London taxi, and will continue to do so as the project reaches production.
A 1.5 dCi four-cylinder turbodiesel engine will come in two power outputs.
The 89hp and 110hp. 89hp versions will be mated to a five-speed manual transmission, while 110hp variants will boast a six-speed unit. Both powerplants are fully compliant with the latest EuroV emissions regulations.
Fully backed by the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, said: “From what I’ve seen of the NV200 London Taxi, it ticks all the right boxes.
It’s important that it looks like a cab, is comfortable with good access and is reliable. If the fuel consumption figures are as promised, it will be a big seller and bring some much needed competition to the London taxi market.”
Sold through specialist dealerships, Nissan’s London taxi will be priced below the current London Taxi Company TX4, but it is running costs where the new challenger is expected to offer the biggest appeal for cabbies.
The 1.5 litre dCi 89 hp engine will manage a significantly higher combined mpg of 53.3 compared to 35.2 mpg for the London Taxi company TX4 2.5 manual.
The NV200 London Taxi is set to also take the honours on emissions, with its smaller turbocharged diesel coughing out only 139g/km of C02 against 206g/km from the cleanest London Taxi Company TX4 model.
Aside from the environmental benefits, Nissan claim the NV200 London black cab will make business sense for owners with the increased economy benefiting London’s taxi fleet.
The company estimates that by switching to an NV200, a typical London taxi driver covering 22,000 miles a year,would expect to save between £600 and £700 in fuel costs.
Although purpose built for the task at hand, the body of Nissan’s new Hackney Carriage is based on a modified and stretched version of the company’s NV200 Combi people carrier.
In order to meet Transport for London’s Condition of Fitness (CoF) requirement for a 25ft (7.62m) turning circle, the NV200’s entire front suspension and steering assembly has been redesigned, resulting in both front wheels moving 100mm outboard. Other changes include a redesigned rear suspension that minimises cabin intrusion and reduces floor height.
Safety for both occupants and pedestrians was a key consideration in the design.
High intensity cabin and door impact absorption structures help provide a safety shield around occupants in an accident, while pedestrian safety is enhanced by the use of energy-absorbing materials in the bumper, bonnet and cowl. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) and Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) come as standard equipment.
Other driver aids include a trip computer that provides fuel consumption, service intervals, and mileage data.
Bluetooth connectivity also comes fitted as standard.
Inside there’s the usual facility for communication between driver and passengers, along with independent heating and lighting controls. The NV200 also boasts a USB port and 12v socket to charge smartphones and other electronic devices. A unique feature is the 1.2m2 panoramic glass roof which will give passengers a view of London’s skyline.
Seating follows a conventional London taxi five-seater layout, although a new feature is a rear bench that is mounted on tracks and split 70/30, enabling more flexible use of cabin space.
To address accessibility issues of existing taxis, Nissan worked with disability group Assist UK in designing the NV200 to meet the needs of disabled passengers. The result is easy-open sliding passenger doors and increased wheelchair access and storage.
Andy Palmer, executive vice-president of Nissan, said: “Nissan is proud to be delivering a 21st century vision for one of London’s most iconic vehicles.
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.”
The firm is so confident in the design that the NV200 will become a global taxi, and has already been unveiled in Tokyo and chosen as the exclusive New York City ‘Taxi of tomorrow.’
Mr Palmer added: “The NV200 London Taxi joins an exciting global Nissan vision for the private hire industry.
Safe, comfortable, efficient and convenient – it’s a great step forward for providing a transport solution that is good for both its users and other city inhabitants.”
The NV200 is the first of two alternative cabs that Nissan will be introducing into London’s streets.
The ENV200 – London’s first electric taxi – will also hit the roads next year for trials, with running costs estimated to be around 1/5th of a conventional Hackney Carriage, it could bring zero emission taxi’s to London six years ahead of the mayor’s target of 2020.