Though much of the attention to this point in the Taxi Wars has focused on New York City, Nissan is putting its specially developed NV200 Taxi on the streets of London, England this week.
According to the press release from Nissan, the NV200 London Taxi, as it is known, has been “has been undergoing an intensive development process by Nissan engineers” over the last 12 months. Meanwhile, the release added, the NV200 has been the subject of a redesign effort at Nissan’s Paddington studio, where designers are seeking to put the final touches on what Nissan called an “iconic” exterior treatment. The design will be made public before 2013 draws to a close, the release added.
The NV200 London Taxi was put on the streets for the final phase of its development, Nissan said — road testing in the environment where it will see daily duty. The taxi features a glass roof, USB charging port for passengers’ phones and other devices, and rear HVAC controls, among other passenger amenities, the release said. It will be sold through Glyn Hopkin Nissan dalers in the area. Sales are expected to begin in the second half of 2014, according to Nissan.
As we previously reported, Nissan and Ford have been jockeying for taxi van supremacy in New York City and other cities around the globe that have a burgeoning fleet of taxi vehicles that will one day need to be replaced.
Full text of the press release follows:
LONDON, UK – Over the last 12 months, the new NV200 London Taxi has been undergoing an intensive development process by Nissan engineers. At the same time, Nissan’s design center in Paddington has been applying the finishing touches to an iconic new exterior for the cab, penned especially for the Capital.
Now Nissan has begun London-specific real-world testing of its new NV200 Taxi, with the aim of making it the most reliable, economical and user-friendly Hackney Carriage the Capital has ever seen. Now in its final specification, the NV200 London Taxi enters the last phase of its testing process – hitting the streets of the city where it will spend its working life.
Based on the NV200 compact van, the taxi version has been designed from the inside out for the well being of passengers, drivers and even other road-users. It complies with all Transport for London (TfL) regulations with a 25ft (7.6m) turning circle and will be more environmentally friendly than current “black cab” models thanks to its Nissan-sourced 1.6-liter gasoline engine.
Sliding doors give easy, safe access to the five-passenger rear interior, while other highlights include a glass roof (so that those onboard can enjoy the view of the city), rear air-conditioning and even plug-in ports for charging smartphones. It all adds up to the most advanced and enjoyable London cab yet.
Nissan can also announce that the Glyn Hopkin dealer group has been selected to sell, service and maintain the NV200 London Taxi.
“Glyn Hopkin has a long relationship with Nissan, providing expert customer service to new and used buyers,” explained Nissan GB Managing Director Jim Wright. “And with a new dedicated facility to be opened next year, it’s ideally placed to apply that experience to serving taxi drivers.”
Glyn Hopkin, Chairman of the Glyn Hopkin Group, added: “We’re very proud to be selected to sell, service and maintain the new NV200 London Taxi. It’s an iconic and very exciting vehicle. We’re looking forward to looking after the needs of our new taxi customers.”
Nissan will reveal the final look of the new NV200 London Taxi at an event before the end of the year. Designed to be instantly recognizable as a London taxi, it gets a bespoke “face” with distinctive and modern lighting, plus a new grille and bumper treatment over the regular NV200. The exterior certainly isn’t the only part that has had the bespoke treatment, though; everything has been taken into consideration to ensure it can meet the demands of life as a London taxi.
Sales will begin in the second half of 2014 to allow time for thorough testing and evaluation. An all-electric version is under development, which will further reduce emissions of the London taxi fleet.
The NV200 London Taxi joins an exciting global Nissan vision for the taxi industry. Taxi versions of the NV200 have already been unveiled in Tokyo, Barcelona and New York.