New York, New York, It’s a wonderful Town – Well Nissan Thinks It Is!
We’ve all seen movies set in New York and watched the ubiquitous Yellow Cabs wallow along between the sky scrapers but pretty soon that’s going to be a thing of the past as Japanese car maker Nissan have just won the contract to supply ALL of the taxi cabs to New York City for the next ten years and do you know what they’ve picked? A Van!
Well ok, its not going to be a van when it arrives in ‘Yonkers’ but that’s what it starts life as and many of you will already be familiar with the Nissan NV200 as we have them over here in the UK.
The deal set up with The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) has decided Nissan offered the best package with the modified NV200 which Mayor Bloomberg described as “the safest, most comfortable and most convenient cab the City has ever had,” he went on to say that the highest quality taxi, one that that can expand and redefine the legendary image of New York City taxicabs. The new taxis will be custom-designed to meet the specific demands of carrying 600,000 passengers a day in New York City traffic and the vehicle meets the top priorities identified by the public in our on-line survey.”
Well there you have it! a Japanese van, built in Mexico is going to redefine the legendary image of New York – Oh you think so do you? OK, they are going to be yellow and going to carry the black and white chequered stripes, but it’s a modified van? legendary, iconic, come on, who are you trying to fool!
Anyway, the contract Nissan have won lasts for 10 years and makes the NV200 the exclusive taxi for New York from late 2013 onwards.
Presently, the main cab in New York and an absolute city icon is Ford’s Crown Victoria and indeed, Ford were in the running to get this new contract, along with Turkish vehicle manufacturer ‘Karsan’ but it was the Nissan that fitted the bill after the city commissioned a survey of around 23,000 people, asking them what characteristics they were looking for in a taxi.
New York has around 13,000 taxis covering some 500 million miles a year (between them of course) and they transport around 600,000 a day and that’s phenomenal by any standards.
Taxi Commissioner David Yassky said “For the first time, we’ll have a taxicab that wasn’t ‘off the rack’, but rather custom-tailored to create the best fit for the drivers, owners and passengers of our city. This is the heir apparent to the Checker, and people are going to fall in love with this taxi once they ride in it. It is going to represent New York City well.” (oh you think so do you?)
As part of the program, Nissan will also work with the city and its taxi owners on a pilot to study the use of zero-emission electric vehicles as eventual use as taxis. As part of this, in 2012, Nissan is going give them 6 all-electric Nissan Leaf’s to test and will have charging stations installed to support them.
The city and Nissan are now working closely together to finalise the exact specification of the new cabs, but the following are what seems to be the brief:-
- A 2.0L 4 cylinder engine to reduce Co2 emissions and improve fuel economy
- Room for four passengers and their luggage (improved over current taxi models)
- Sliding doors with entry step and grab handles, providing easy entry and exit
- Transparent Roof Panel (with shade) to provide ultimate views of the city
- Independently controlled rear air-conditioning with filter to improve cabin air quality
- Breathable easy clean seat fabric that simulates the look and feel of real leather
- Overhead reading lights for passengers and floor lights to help locate belongings
- Mobile phone charging point for passengers including 12v socket and USB
- Six way adjustable drivers seat
- Drivers navigation and telematics systems
- Front and rear occupant curtain bags
- Sliding doors to reduce the risk of pedestrians and cyclists getting struck by them
- Lights that alert other road users that the taxi doors are opening
Finally, on this list we have seen, they want to reduce the latest in ”honk-reduction Technology” a so called low-annoyance horn to reduce screechiness. In short, new your city wants to build a better beep. Complete with an interior light that turns on whenever a driver honks so that police can better spot violators of the oft-ignored honking laws. The city expects to be presented with samples of horn sounds from Nissan before it agrees on the definitive toot – so that must be the iconic bit!
OK, things I guess have to change and nothing stands still, but I guess if you ask anybody outside of the UK what they think of when they think of New York, I would guess the traditional yellow cab would be way up there, but it is a shame that this piece of Americana is going to be changed forever, as the movies are just never going to look the same again!