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Back in 2011, New York City chose a new vehicle to replace the majority of its taxi fleet, then a hodgepodge of Ford Crown Victoria sedans, various hybrid models, and a few minivans.
Dubbed the “Taxi of Tomorrow,” that vehicle is an adapted version of the Nissan NV200 small van.
The decision to standardize New York’s roughly 13,000 medallion taxi cabs did not sit well with owners, who have engaged the city in a long-running legal war.
This week, the city government won a major victory.
Yesterday, New York state’s highest court upheld the city’s Nissan taxi plan, Bloomberg reported.
The Court of Appeals said New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission did not overstep its authority by designating a single vehicle type for taxi service.
About 700 NV200 taxis are already operating on New York City streets, but the commission wants the “Taxi of Tomorrow” model to grow to 80 percent of the fleet, now at roughly 15,000 medallion cabs.
Nissan won the contract — valued at around $1 billion — after beating out Ford and Turkish manufacturer Karsan.
This week’s court ruling not only paves the way for Nissan and the city to enact their plan, but also brings the possibility of electric taxis for New York much closer.
Nissan already sells an all-electric version of the NV200 in Europe and Japan.
Called the e-NV200, it uses the powertrain from Nissan’s Leaf electric car.
Nissan previously unveiled a version of the e-NV200 for taxi use in London — complete with a retro front fascia meant to mimic London’s iconic black cabs.
The carmaker also demonstrated Nissan Leaf taxis in New York back in 2013.
But while Nissan has discussed selling the e-NV200 in the U.S., it still hasn’t set a timeline for that.
With the internal-combustion version already approved for taxi service, though, it wouldn’t appear difficult for the e-NV200 to follow — whenever it arrives here.
Two days ago, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn showed off a development prototype of a Nissan Leaf with a battery giving more than 200 miles of range — enough for the typical 12-hour taxi shift in NYC.
[hat tip: Dave Provost]
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