By on July 3, 2015

Nissan NV200 Taxi of Tomorrow

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission finally cleared its last hurdle in making the Nissan NV200 the new official taxi for NYC, Car and Driver reports.

The commission installed the NV200 as the new official taxi back in 2011, but legal challenges have delayed that process until now. The city licenses more than 13,000 cabs.

The challenge stemmed from a group of taxi owners taking exception to the commission dwindling the number of acceptable cab models from 47 down to just one. However, the C&D report points out, owners can choose from a slightly larger list of acceptable hybrids (by larger, we mean three: Lexus 450h, Prius V and Toyota Highlander Hybrid) instead of the gas-powered NV200.

Nissan won a $1 billion bid to become the supplier of the new taxi four years ago beating out Ford and Turkish automaker Karsan.

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48 Comments on “After Clearing Legal Hurdles, Taxi of Tomorrow Now Taxi of Today...”


  • avatar

    Put an electric motor in a Checker. Done. Also, I don’t see ‘safety concerns’ because doesn’t NYC traffic rarely exceed like 35MPG anyway?

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I take it you have never taken a cab from one of the airports into the city? A beatup Crown Brick can hit about Mach 1.2 in the hands of a third-world refugee with a cab license when traffic is light. It’s an E ticket ride for sure.

      Seems baffling to me that they didn’t require hybrids. They make perfect sense in the city from both a gas mileage and a maintenance standpoint.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      I agree to a certain extent. The old Checker was as much New York as black London Taxi is London, except London figured out how to modernize their cabs without losing the spirit of the original. Something Diesel hybrid with modern safety features and styling like a Checker Marathon would have been a winner.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    Prius V or Highlander Hybrid or Escape/C-Max hybrid (or CR-V hybrid if such a thing ever exists) would be perfect off the shelf cabs/liveries.

    my inner pragmatist sees the NV200 as a waste of engineering time/but obviously not a waste for the lobbyist that Nissan hired.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      I’m guessing this chassis is used mostly to meet handicap accessibility (aka wheelchair) requirements?

      Anybody know how these are doing on durability? When I worked at a component supplier, we used NYC Sanitation trucks as our benchmark for “tough duty” cycle.

      • 0 avatar
        mmreeses

        **handicap accessibility ***

        forgot about that.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        But these are so small it is an either or thing. Set it up to carry a wheel chair and it isn’t suitable for regular use. They also carry only 3 passengers very cramped. So the families with more than 3 that want to visit the city will eventually be required to pay for two cabs once the existing fleet of minivans ages out. Absolutely, totally stupid thing to do. Plus a minivan can be set up to carry a wheelchair and other passengers. A minivan or two should still be on the list of approved vehicles.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Nissan’s gonna have to use the books at every single one of its global divisions to bury what must’ve been an epic “unofficial contribution.”

    Don’t tell me Tammany Hall’s totally washed away.

  • avatar
    anomaly149

    There’s gonna be a huge stink until they permit at least one domestic vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      MadHungarian

      I think that battle has already been fought. Way back when this process started, manufacturers, including US companies, submitted vehicles for testing. Really it became the spec for universal accessibility that drove the process to this van type vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        derekson

        I’m all for providing taxis for disabled people as well, but it seems incredibly wasteful to require all taxis in a city that size to be engineered around supported handicap accessibility. A vehicle like the C-Max seems like it would be far better for 90% of the cabs.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          But they won’t all be wheel chair accessible so it does no good to make all of the taxis be one that could be outfitted as wheel chair accessible. Here is an article showing that the passenger seat must be folded up to accommodate a wheel chair. http://www.trucktrend.com/news/163-news130327-nissan-nv200-wheelchair-accessible-taxi/ So if the driver is willing to have a passenger in the front seat it can carry a person in a wheelchair and a companion.

          Compare that to the Toyota Sienna which was previously approved as a wheelchair accessible NYC taxi. It can seat 3 people in the middle row plus one in a wheelchair. http://www.mobilityworks.com/Commercial/pdf/LibertyToyotaSiennaTAXI060812.pdf Optional jump seats make it capable of carrying 5 passengers in the rear when there is no wheelchair on board. Those certainly seem like far better choices. No it probably doesn’t get as good of MPG as a NV200 but it does have the potential to get more people miles per gallon.

      • 0 avatar
        anomaly149

        Yeah. Thing is that the domestics produce comparable vehicles (transit connect, promaster city, city express) and there will always be folks that would prefer to drive a domestically branded vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          Even for kneejerks TCO trumps nationalism every time in business.

          For the knowledgeable, they’d choose Turkish or Italian build quality over Japanese? And the Chevy version is more expensive than the Nissan.

          And I’ve yet to “drive” any cab I’ve taken. I just want the driver to stop talking and get me where I’m going.

  • avatar

    Remember when GM changed the fronts of the dustbuster vans to look kinda “trucky”? I think those might have looked better than this.

  • avatar

    Locally (Vancouver, Canada) the taxi fleet aggressively converted over to Priuses (and now Prius Vs) a few years ago. I don’t believe there’s any rule about what you can use as a taxi (you see some Camry hybrids) just the pressure of an environment where gas costs USD$4/gal or more.

    Given that, I bet there’s a strong financial incentive to use Prius Vs, but I don’t know what the incentives are like in the NYC taxi system (by which I mean, whether the person that buys the car pays the gas bill).

    (The standard special-needs taxi is a minivan with a lift.)

    • 0 avatar

      I think NYC is pretty unique in limiting what vehicles can be taxis. I live in Baltimore, and it’s totally “run what you’ve brung”. Which is mostly ex-police crown vics, with a smattering of Camry’s, Prius, and Scion xB’s – but over the years I’ve seen everything, including a Saab 9-3, a Lincoln LS, a Chevy Blazer, and pretty much every domestic minivan and sedan ever made.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      The person who drives the cab pays for the gas, but is not the owner. Owner owns the medallion. If you own a medallion ($700,000) you must have a cab (can’t sit on it). Cabs are leased to drivers, use to be around $100 don’t know the current rate. Driver gets clean cab full of fuel. Returns it 12 hours later same way. Passenger rates are fixed. Drivers take is the fares minus the rental rate minus the fuel cost.

    • 0 avatar
      phantomliusei

      I remember back when it was 1.5CAD+/Liter and exchange rate as higher. These days 1.2-1.28 after conversion is nowhere near as bad as before.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    Meaningless cuz the REAL taxi of tomorrow is UBER

  • avatar

    When I was a kid, all taxis were Checkers. Back in the age of analog cars, a Checker missed planned obsolence, took a variety of engine/trans combinations, and was pretty comfortable for the passenger. It was designed for NYC streets before the Panther and black car variants.
    When checker went away (around tight emissions and safety regs, even though the Checker was good in the city) the industry went cheap, which meant every cop car in 500 miles had a second career as a taxi.

    It got so bad, they began to limit cab eligible cars by mileage.

    Today, you can’t just make a car, like Checker. Now, between all the EPA and NHTSA, you need a full car maker like Toyota.

    I think NY cabs should be electric, most of the time they aren’t moving, and when they do, it is an average 8 mph speed with a max of 40 mph, 25 legally in many places.

    Yes, the checker was a good answer to the question, other than handicap access.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Fleet tires may be a challenge to begin with. Will this bring about cheap, aftermarket CVT’s?

  • avatar
    Spartan

    What other industrialized nation besides the U.S. would have a foreign automaker as the only licensed brand of taxis in a major city?

    I swear we are borderline retarded when it comes to certain things.

  • avatar
    TWHansen

    Question – does this mean the Chevy City Express (a rebadged NV200) qualifies too?

    • 0 avatar

      No, the NV200 Taxi is a unique model from the NV200 and City Express.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        You can always put on Chevy express badges.

        I question the need for EVERY cab to be wheelchair friendly.

        I also kind of chuckle at the way the ‘free market’ (such as it is) has turned out.

        Where I am the govt, mandates XX% of cabs must be wheelchair accessible. They also subsidise the cost of the van conversion. The govt. then says XX% of wheelchair cabs in certain regions must have these on standby at any one time. And when it is used by a disabled person, the cost of the fare is reimbursed by the govt.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Um, not really, there is no reason that they couldn’t put the Taxi spec interior in one wearing the City Express badging. Of course it is unlikely that Nissan would agree to that since they spent so much money on bribes to win the NYC contract. On the other hand they still make money on each vehicle no matter which badge gets stuck on the vehicle.

  • avatar

    I would really apreciate a complete eTaxi. This will reduce the city smog much.

  • avatar
    plee

    I assume these will have the CVT in them. Good luck with that. Hauling around a load of people in city driving will tear up those transmissions.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    They should have chosen the London Taxi. Much classier looking and has all the possible features they want, including provisions for wheelchairs.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    In 2011 Uber and Lyft didn’t exist. In the time it took to resolve legal battles, and entirely new way of doing taxicab service came to exist.

    Meanwhile in the last 30 months the value of a NYC Taxi Medallion has dropped from a mind-numbing $1.3M to “only” $840,000.


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