Published on August 7th, 2012 | by James Allen0
Nissan NV200: London’s next Black Cab?
It’s already secured a contract to use NV200 ‘cabbies’ in New York City, replacing the ancient but iconic fleet of Ford Crown Victoria’s, and now the City of London is in Nissan’s sights. In the next 12 months, this could very well end up being the next ‘Black Cab’.
With the strict regulations required for a car to be eligible as a London taxi - for instance, the turning radius can not be more than 25 ft – and the dominance that LTI has on this particular area of the new car market, it’ll be a struggle to establish itself in this sector. However, Nissan is confident that this new NV200 variant has the potential to succeed.
Firstly, Nissan claim they’ve got around the turning radius requirement by re-engineering the front suspension, so the van-based passenger courier can deal with the tight turns of the capital without having to alter the front-wheel drive configuration.
Nissan also state that, in the long run, the NV200 will have the potential to save black cab firms up to £1,000 per year. Thanks to what is described by its makers as a ‘super-efficient’ 1.5 diesel engine (that’ll come with the option of either 90hp or 110hp), it’s claimed that this new taxi will be up to 50% more efficient than the current offering by LTI.
It’s also lower on emissions (though no figures have been stated as of yet), which is a major selling point, especially to Boris Johnson, who’s set on trying to decrease the amount of noxious gases and particulates that are being ejected from the exhaust pipes of every car in London.
This is especially applicable to the current fleet of cabbies – even though there are only 22,000 of them currently roaming the streets of the UK’s largest city, they contribute a whopping 20% to the city’s annual emissions output.
There’s even the potential for a completely emissions-free version of the Nissan cab – the firm is reportedly working on a fully-electric version of the NV200 taxi, which is expected to enter the testing phase sometime in 2013.
The only let-down, though, is that Nissan is adamant it’ll only come with a manual transmission. Though we’re by no means against the implementation of a stick-shift here at New Motoring, we find it a bit odd that, considering the production-ready car’s life will most likely revolve around stop/start traffic, there isn’t even going to be the option for an auto ‘box.
That said, it’ll be interesting to see what the future has in store for the new Nissan taxi. We’ve got a while to go before we see it on the roads – there’s still, allegedly, a 12 month wait for the NV200 until it’s ready to go on sale – and we’ll be interested to see what the cabbie drivers will think of it.
After all, LTI is pretty much synonymous with London, so, as the saying goes, ‘if it ain’t broke, is there any need to fix it?’. There’s also a Mercedes rival in the pipelines as well, so it’ll be interesting to see whether the Japanese or the Germans end up making a better taxi than a company that’s been making them for yonks can.
Still, you gotta admire Nissan for trying to break into the monopolised Hackney carriage marketplace with a machine that, on paper at least, looks like it could beat the TX4 that’s actively being used by London’s cabbie firms.
And, if it’s good enough for the Big Apple, it’s highly likely that it’d fare well the unique urban environment that is the ‘Big Smoke’.