While the eyes of the world are on London for the 2012 Summer Olympics, Nissan is highlighting the storied city for a much different reason. In London, taxis are known as Hackney Carriages or Black Cabs, but the iconic, purpose-built TX4 is to London what the Ford Crown Victoria is to the New York City. The Nissan NV200 Taxi has already usurped the Crown Vic by being named New York City's Taxi of Tomorrow, and now Nissan is looking to expand its compact van into the taxi fleet of London. The Nissan NV200 Taxi still has to go through final testing before it is can be London Taxi certified, and this includes crash testing.
Nissan made specific changes to the NV200 Taxi to prepare it for London cab duty, and these include a different passenger configuration and a new engine. Inside the rear passenger compartment, the London-spec NV200 is fitted with rear-facing jump seats that increase the seating capacity to five. The front passenger seat has also been removed to allow for additional cargo space. Ingress and egress are both aided by the NV's dual sliding doors whereas its competition, the TX4, has hinged doors like a sedan. Both the U.S. and London versions of the NV200 Taxi include passenger amenities such as a large, panoramic roof, heating and cooling vents for the rear occupants, wheelchair tie downs and multiple charging ports so passengers can charge their electronic devices.
Designed to be as equally good for passengers as it is for the environment, the Nissan NV200 London Taxi swaps the U.S. version of the NV200 Taxi's 2.0-liter gasoline inline-four with a 1.5-liter diesel inline-four. Oddly enough, the TX4 is powered by a 2.7-liter diesel engine supplied by Nissan, but Nissan claims the NV200 London Taxi will get 53.3 miles per gallon while its rival averages 35.3 mpg. Future versions of the London Taxi include the all-electric e-NV200 model which will be tested as a London Taxi prototype starting next year. Nissan also points out that the NV200 London Taxi will have a 25-foot turning radius (a requirement of London taxis), although the automaker does not break down the turning abilities of the NV200 Taxi or NV200 Cargo.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg got a good look at the NV200 Taxi ahead of its introduction at this year's New York International Auto Show, and Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, was able to check out the NV200 London Taxi recently.
"Improving air quality in London is one of the most important challenges I face as Mayor," Johnson said. "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."