New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the Nissan NV200 has been selected as the winner of the two-year “Taxi of Tomorrow” competition. The car will be the first taxi specifically built for New York, and the city’s first exclusive cab in over a decade.
The NV200 will also be the first cab with driver and passenger airbags, a transparent roof, mobile device charging units, built-in GPS, and features more room than any official New York taxi before. The cars are expected to be introduced in late 2013, with current taxis phased out over the next five to eight years depending on conditions.
Nissan says the NV200 will begin to be manufactured for all-electric mode in 2017, four years after the first gas-powered versions are on the road. Survey results of taxi riders in New York found that environmental sustainability was the top priority, beating passenger comfort and safety in order of importance.
All though fuel-efficiency was not used as a criteria for the new taxicab evaluation, the city says the Nissan NV200 had the highest rating out of the other two finalists, and was the only vehicle that could promise an all-electric version in the future. The gas-powered model is expected to cost around $29,000, but no word yet on the price of the electric version.