The DailyTech is reporting that Nissan has won the hotly contested bid to supply New York City with a new line of high-tech taxi cabs, beating out Ford and Turkish car company, Karsan. The AP Newswire, via the Wall Street Journal says that the new taxis will have amenities specifically designed to meet the taste of New York City residents and visitors, and AutoBlog says that New York’s taxis, which carry some 236 million passengers annually, will likely never again be the same.
Like the cab in the popular cable program Cash Cab, the Nissan NV200 is a van, rather than a sedan; for two reasons. The first is that it allows for more cargo to be stowed in the back. The second is that it eliminates the problem of doors swinging out when opened, knocking into passing pedestrians or bike riders. Less noticeable is the fabric used to make the seats, covered entirely with secret formula that makes them anti-bacterial, which means less smell as well as less chance of catching something from previous riders. Other features, the AP says, include more leg room, a skylight and lighting deployed in areas to allow for both reading and finding small items accidently dropped onto the floor. Also, there is no bump in back making getting in and out of the cab easier, and each side of passenger compartment features a USB port for charging cell phones or other electronic devices.
New York City, the Journal explains, has cabs that are owned by the city, rather than by the drivers, which means converting from one model to another is an ambitious project to be sure. Fortunately for city taxpayers, the conversion isn’t going to happen all at once. Instead it will be spread out over the next six years. But says AutoBlog, customers are in for a treat. Other new features of the cabs include GPS mapping devices, to prevent longer, more expensive rides and passenger climate controls. AutoBlog says that New York taxicabs carry over 600,000 passengers every day, traveling a distance equal to 20,000 trips around the entire planet.
One downside, at least for the environment, is that the cabs are all gasoline powered, though a spokesman for Nissan told the AP that plans are in the works to convert the cabs over time to technology based on the all electric Nissan Leaf.
Thus far, Nissan has delivered one cab, to a street site, allowing New Yorkers to see firsthand what their new cabs will very soon look like.