Dezeen Wire: car brand Nissan has unveiled its design for a new fleet of black cabs for London.
The Nissan NV200 London Taxi features a glass roof for better sightseeing.
The rear has sliding doors and accommodates three passengers on a bench facing forwards plus two on flip-down seats facing backwards.
There are also anchors for a wheelchair and the rear seats are on sliders to create more space when required.
The front passenger seat has been removed to make more room for carrying luggage.
Taxi versions of the NV200 have already been unveiled in Tokyo and New York, and subject to testing the diesel version is expected to be available to London cab drivers later this year.
An all-electric version is also set to undergo trials in London next year.
Here's some more information from Nissan:
Nissan unveils a new Hackney Carriage for the Capital
» Affordable and 50% more fuel efficient, than alternative cabs
» Complies with TfL regulations, including 25ft turning circle
» All-electric e-NV200 prototype London Taxi to be tested in 2013
» Fully backed by London Mayor, Boris Johnson, the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association and disability groups
» Designed for superior comfort, space, convenience and accessibility
» Nissan has unveiled a bold new vision for the future of the London ‘black cab’ and its 300,000 daily users – the Nissan NV200 London Taxi.
» The NV200 London Taxi will offer significantly reduced CO2 outputs compared to current taxi models - a focus in line with the Mayor Boris Johnson's Air Quality strategy for London.
An all-electric e-NV200 concept is also set to undergo trials in the Capital. The Mayor has joined disability groups and the influential London Taxi Drivers' Association in welcoming the launch of the Nissan NV200 London Taxi.
Taxi versions of the NV200 have already been unveiled in Tokyo and it has also been chosen as the exclusive New York City ‘Taxi of tomorrow'. The NV200 London Taxi joins an exciting global Nissan vision for the private hire industry.
Nissan has a respected place in the Capital's taxi history - its 2.7-litre TD27 diesel engine was chosen for the iconic LTI FX4 ‘Fairway' black cab, which introduced improved speed, reliability and efficiency to the London cabbie's daily drive. The same engine also featured in the Fairway's successor, the TX1.
The NV200 will build on this reputation.
Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association, said: "Nissan already has a great footing in the London taxi market - the 2.7-litre diesel that featured in some of the early taxis was one of the greatest engines ever put in a cab. From what I've seen of the NV200 London Taxi, it ticks all the right boxes. It's important that it looks like a cab, is comfortable with good ingress and egress and is reliable. If the fuel consumption figures are as promised, it will be a big seller."
Designed from the inside out for the well-being of passengers, drivers and even other road users, the NV200 London Taxi is more efficient and more environmentally considerate than current ‘black cab' models, while delivering more comfort, space and convenience for occupants. A particular focus was also placed on providing for passengers with mobility issues.
Alan Norton, from Assist UK, said: "Assist UK is proud to be associated with Nissan in the development of an accessible taxi to meet the needs of all disabled people. We have had the opportunity to bring together experts from all fields of disability to work with designers to ensure the vehicle will work for all in their transport needs. The work is ongoing and future refinements are planned after the initial launch, as many ideas have been discussed and are currently undergoing development. We congratulate Nissan for its initiative and wish them every success with their project."
Durable and reliable, the Nissan NV200 London Taxi is based on the company's multi-purpose NV200 compact van - a vehicle which has won many awards including International Van Of The Year. Launched at end of 2009, the model has been introduced to 40 countries, selling over 100,000 units worldwide.
The Nissan NV200 London Taxi comfortably seats five adults - three on a rear bench with two on rear-facing, fold-down seats. The front passenger seat has been removed to create space for luggage.
A stand-out feature is the taxi's sliding passenger doors, which were developed for easy open and close. They are also much safer for pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles because they do not swing out to create a potential obstruction.
The diesel version of the Nissan NV200 London Taxi is expected to be competitively priced below the new TX4 - the London Taxi Company's current model - and will be available through a designated ‘specialist' Nissan dealer.
Nissan's NV200 also delivers significantly improved running costs than alternative London cabs. The model's frugal 1.5 dCi 89 HP EuroV, 6-speed manual drivetrain achieves 53.3mpg on a combined cycle meaning almost 50% fuel saving than the most efficient TX4 with its combined cycle figure of 35.3mpg.
Fuel costs account for around 10 percent of taxi driver overheads. Over the course of a year, NV200 London Taxi drivers would spend around 50% less - about £700 - on fuel than TX4 drivers.*
With a focus on improving air quality in the city, the NV200 London Taxi's Euro V engine only emits up to 139g/km of CO2, compared with 209g/km from the ‘greenest' TX4 model. As a relevant simulation, if all of London's licensed taxis were replaced with the NV200 London Taxi, there would be a CO2 reduction across London of 37,970 metric tonnes each year - the equivalent of planting 10,000 acres, or two Congestion Charge zones, of trees every 12 months.
More importantly, the harmful NOx and PM (particulate) gases on which authorities are seeking particular improvement in ‘clean air' legislation, would be reduced by an estimated 135 metric tonnes and 20 metric tonnes per year.
An all electric version could have an even bigger impact on London's air quality. Having been the first car manufacturer to mass produce a 100% electric family car with its trail-blazing Nissan LEAF, Nissan could cement its place at the forefront of motoring technology with the introduction of an all-electric e-NV200 London Taxi. With running costs estimated to be around one fifth of a conventional, diesel-powered Hackney Carriage it is likely to be popular with drivers too.
Discussions with all the stakeholders will continue to try and make an e-NV200 a realistic proposition by increasing investment in charging infrastructure.
Subject to final testing, including a crash-test, the diesel-powered Nissan NV200 aims to receive full London Taxi certification later this year.
The extensive modifications to the standard NV200 ensure the model fully conforms to the regulations set in the TfL London Taxi Conditions of Fitness. These include being able to accommodate a wheelchair passenger and achieve a 25ft (7.6m) turning-circle - a legal requirement for all Hackney carriages, said to originate from the small roundabout in front of the famous Savoy Hotel on The Strand that taxis needed to round in one manoeuvre.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: "Improving air quality in London is one of the most important challenges I face as Mayor. Having taken the significant step of introducing the first age limit for taxis in London, I am absolutely delighted that manufacturers are stepping up to the plate and are responding to the challenge I set in my air quality strategy to reduce taxi emissions and improve efficiency. I look forward to when a fully competitive model comes to market."
Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President of Nissan, said: "Nissan is proud to be delivering a 21st century vision for one of London's most iconic vehicles. The ‘black cab' is as much a part of the London landscape as Big Ben and, whilst there will always be a place for that familiar silhouette, the Nissan NV200 London Taxi focuses as much attention on its interior as the exterior - a better experience for drivers and passengers."
He continued: "The design process for the NV200 London Taxi was exhaustive and will be further improved. In addition to ensuring drivers would be comfortable spending extended hours behind the wheel, we've had to consider every user for this vehicle - there are no specific customer profiles in the back of a London cab. Adults, children, business professionals, foreign visitors, disabled travellers - they're all potential customers. We've even considered those who might never get inside the taxi but who will benefit from features such as the model's lower CO2 emissions or the un-obstructing sliding doors.
"The Nissan NV200 is a global taxi, launching in the biggest and brightest cities in the world. Safe, comfortable, efficient and convenient - it's a great step forward for providing a transport solution that is good for both its users and other city inhabitants."