NEW YORK CITY. Last evening, the city that never sleeps got its first look at the next version of its iconic taxicab: The 2014 Nissan NV200 Taxi. This variant of Nissan’s small commercial van model was engineered to meet exacting cab standards set by NYC’s Taxi & Limousine Commission’s  (TLC) “Taxi of Tomorrow”  program. The NV200 was ultimately selected to be the city’s next “medallion” yellow cab after completing a rigorous two-year competitive-bid selection process.

At a sardine-packed news conference held in a studio on Manhattan's West Side, Nissan president & CEO Carlos Ghosn and New York City officials discussed how the NV200 was modified to meet the demands of cab operation in a city in which 600,000 persons hop in the back of a taxi each day.

“We’re proud to introduce a new era of urban mobility to New York with the Nissan NV200 Taxi – New York City’s Taxi of Tomorrow,” Ghosn said. “The exclusive Taxi of Tomorrow draws on Nissan’s global experience in commercial vehicles as well as insight from New York City taxi drivers and passengers, who helped identify important improvements over today’s cabs. The Nissan taxi will deliver unprecedented levels of innovation and comfort to New York’s taxi riders.”

NYC’s TLC selected the Nissan NV200 Taxi last May as the exclusive taxi of New York City beginning in late 2013. The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the Design Trust for Public Space and Smart Design also engaged with Nissan and TLC on the vehicle’s design.

“The Nissan NV 200 unveiled today will be the safest, most comfortable and most convenient taxi the City has ever had,” said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “New York City cabs have always been iconic and now they will set a new standard. The 600,000 passengers who use taxis to get around every day deserve the cutting-edge technology and top-of-the-line safety features that this model delivers.”

Joe Castelli, Nissan North America’s vp of light commercial vehicles & sales, said the taxi was designed “from the inside out,” using input from New York taxi drivers, medallion holders (taxi owners) fleet operators and passengers. He told FleetOwner that although the total numbers of NV200 taxicabs sold here will be small, “the New York City taxicab is an icon and it is an honor to be selected” to provide it.

According to Nissan, standard interior features and passenger amenities include:

  • Ample room for four passengers and their luggage, offering substantial improvements over current taxi models
  • Sliding doors with entry step and grab handles, providing easy entry and exit 
  • Transparent roof panel, presenting unique views of the city
  • Opening side windows
  • Independently controlled rear air conditioning
  • Active Carbon Lined headliner to help neutralize interior odors
  • Overhead reading lights for passengers and floor lighting to help locate belongings
  • A mobile charging station for passengers, including a 12-volt electrical outlet and two USB ports
  • Breathable, antimicrobial, environment-friendly, durable and easy-to-clean seat fabric, simulating the look and feel of leather
  • Flat “no hump” passenger floor area for more comfortable ride

Other vehicle features noted:

  • “Proven” 2.0L 4-cylinder powertrain, engineered to enhance the emission performance and fuel efficiency of the taxi fleet
  • 150,000-mile powertrain warranty
  • A low-annoyance horn with exterior lights that indicate when the vehicle is honking, so the horn is used less frequently.
  • 6-way adjustable driver’s seat featuring both recline and lumbar adjustments, even with a partition installed
  • Unique driver’s seat material and stitching to promote improved airflow
  • USB Auxiliary audio input and charge port for driver
  • Standard navigation system with integrated rearview backup monitor
  • Hearing Loop System for the hearing impaired
  • Driver and passenger intercom system
  • Pre-wiring for taxi T-PEP system

Safety features include:

  • Only taxi ever to be safety-tested and certified with full taxi partition
  • Front and rear-seat occupant curtain airbags
  • Seat-mounted airbags for the front row
  • Standard traction control and Vehicle Dynamic Control
  • Sliding doors to lessen risk of pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists getting struck by doors opening unexpectedly
  • Lights that alert other road users that taxi doors are opening

According to Nissan, it will “draw on its full range of commercial vehicle experience -– including providing taxis for municipalities around the world – and will conduct “significant validation testing” of the Nissan NV200 Taxi before it goes on sale.

Nissan also announced at the event that it is partnering with the Braun Corp. “to develop, engineer and produce a creative solution for a wheelchair-accessible taxi in New York.” Drawing on Braun’s innovation and experience in the mobility industry, Nissan stated it will “offer a mobility solution to New York taxi medallion holders when the taxis go on sale in 2013.”

As part of the NYC’s Taxi of Tomorrow program, Nissan is also working with the City and taxi owners on a pilot program to study the use of zero-emission electric vehicles as taxis. Nissan said it will provide six 100% electric Nissan LEAF sedans and three Level 2 charging stations at no charge to taxi owners and New York City to test the electrification of the taxi fleet.

The NV200 Taxi will be produced at Nissan’s manufacturing facility in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Total manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) of the vehicle, with all planned standard features, will be approximately $29,700, the OEM noted. 

According to Nissan, NYC’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” program resulted from a “groundbreaking effort by the Design Trust for Public Space and the City’s TLC to re-imagine the entire taxi system – including the vehicle – for the 21st century.”

 In December 2009, TLC issued a "request for proposals," inviting auto manufacturers and designers to submit their best ideas for a purpose-built vehicle to serve as a New York City taxicab. At the end of the evaluation, the Nissan NV200 was selected and will be the New York City taxicab for ten years, beginning next year.