Nissan have unveiled their idea of what the next London Hackney Carriage should look like. Not only that but alongside the internal combustion powered variant (a 1.6 petrol) is an all electric model which Nissan suggest will be ready for the roads by 2015, 5 years earlier than the Mayor of London’s hope for 2020.
Based on the very successful NV200 van, the new taxi design focussed mainly on the front end, maintaining the regular van like proportions for the rear part but taking into account views of the modern day Cabbie and what they thought was important.
It is clear to see from the design that the taxi differs only in appearance from the van but does have hints to the past Black Cabs made famous by their frequency in London and their tight turning circle. On that point, Nissan have adhered to the strict regulation stipulating a 7.6 metre or 25 foot turning circle.
The vehicle has been designed by the same design studio based in Paddington, London, that produced the highly popular Nissan Juke and Qashqai cars. In August 2012, Nissan first mooted their idea for a future vision of London’s taxis and today’s unveiling is the result of feedback gained from the London Mayor’s office, Transport for London and other key organisations.
Andy Palmer, Chief Planning Officer and Executive Vice President, Nissan Motor Corporation, said:
“Since we launched our Taxi for London in August 2012, we have worked closely with the Mayor’s office and associated stakeholders and interested parties to ensure that Nissan’s new cab not only raises the bar for both driver and passenger, but is also as instantly-recognisable as its legendary forebears.
Alongside this, our engineers at Nissan Technical Centre Europe in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, have continued work on the cab, running real-world trials on the streets of London.”
Nissan are rightfully keen to point out their taxi pedigree, having successfully gained a good reputation for the old 2.7 litre TD27 diesel engines fitted in the popular FX4 ‘Fairway’ and TX1 taxis during the 1980s and 1990s. The decision for using a 1.6 litre petrol mated to an automatic gearbox in the NV200 Taxi for London is a slightly surprising one given the popularity of diesel and the generally better emissions, fuel consumption and low-down torque which are of course very important for taxis, when compared to modern petrol engines. Nissan is quick to state that the petrol unit will be much cleaner than the current crop of diesels already on the road, but this is hardly surprising considering they were built to past standards.
Key design features are the so called ‘triangle’ of taxi occupied light, round headlamps and large grill design. The designers feel this gives the Nissan taxi the familiar Black Cab appearance whereas we feel the design is more akin to a Mitsuoka Galue version of a Rolls Royce Phantom. That is to say that just because it has similar features, doesn’t necessarily mean it is similar.
Design Excellence Manager at NDE, Darryl Scriven, said:
“Having already overcome the unique technical challenges presented by the development of a new Hackney Carriage for London ahead of our launch of the vehicle in August 2012, we turned our attention to making the vehicle look the part.
The Mayor’s office and taxi drivers were very keen that we maintain the character of the Hackney Carriage, making it something that people in the city can be proud of.
The main challenges were concerned with making sure customers can easily recognise it as a taxi. Being in London, we were able to go out and talk to cabbies about what was important to them as well as look at the vehicle from a customer’s viewpoint. It’s unusual for us to be able to work on something as bespoke as this, specifically for one location in the world and we are very proud to have been asked to do so.”
The NV200 Taxi for London will be on sale as soon as December 2014 but only at Nissan franchised dealer group, Glyn Hopkin, who have been appointed as the exclusive retailer to sell the Nissan NV200 Taxi for London from a purpose-built, ultra-modern showroom facility based in Canary Wharf.
Nissan are of course no stranger to taxis elsewhere in the world and helped introduce electric taxis in Barcelona last year which you can read about here. Nissan has a global taxi programme which includes cities such as New York and Tokyo alongside the aforementioned Catalan capital and London too.
Check out Metrocab and Frazer Nash’s London black cab contender here.