Ask anyone to name the things which make London famous, and you’re probably going to find its iconic black taxi cabs somewhere on the list, along with Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Baker Street, and perhaps Harrods.
From later this year however, the iconic black Hackney Carriage is getting a refresh, courtesy of a specially-designed variant of Nissan’s NV-200 minivan, which was officially unveiled by Nissan earlier today. Initially, power will come courtesy of a 1.6-litre diesel engine, but from 2015, Nissan says an all-electric, zero emissions version will be on the streets too.
Much like Nissan’s Taxi of Tomorrow — an NV200-based minicab designed specifically for life as the new official vehicle of choice for life as a New York City licensed Yellow Cab, London’s all-new black Hackney Carriage has been designed to offer the maximum luggage carrying capability, easy access for passengers, and on-board creature comforts like air conditioning and passenger-accessible USB power sockets for charging electronic gadgets.
Because London’s taxis are so iconic however, Nissan went one step further to ensure the NV200 London Taxi looked the part on London’s streets, redesigning the front of the NV200 taxicab to include the classic round lights and large grille so loved by tourists and locals alike.
“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,” said Darryl Scriven, Nissan’s Design Excellence Manager at Nissan Design Europe.
“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,” he continued.
Nissan says the all-new London taxi cab will hit the streets later this year with a 1.6-litre petrol engine and automatic gearbox that makes it far cleaner than the outgoing London Taxi model. From next year however, an all-electric version — based on the same drivetrain found in the Nissan LEAF and e-NV 200 electric vans currently on trail with British Gas — will offer zero tailpipe emissions and quick charge capabilities.
That, says Nissan, will be far earlier than the goal set by the London Mayor of having zero emission taxis on the streets of London by 2020.
Combined with the recent all-electric busses which went into service on certain routes in London, we think the future looks bright for traveling around London by plug-in vehicle. Do you agree?
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