Nissan unveils new London taxi

  • Nissan NV200 London Taxi to replace older cabs
  • 1.5-litre Nissan diesel engine is clean and efficient
  • Prices to start from £28,000, due for launch in 2013

Nissan has revealed a new London taxi which is set to replace iconic black cabs like the Fairway and TX4.

It's based on Nissan's NV200, a compact van which was launched in 2009. The converted taxi version of the NV200 has five seats in the back, two rear sliding doors for easy access and a 600-litre boot with the rear seats in place.

The taxi version of the van has also been modified to meet the strict restrictions set out for vehicles operating as a London taxi, including a 25ft turning circle and the ability to accommodate a wheelchair passenger.

Designed to offer reduced CO2 emissions, in line with Mayor Boris Johnson's Air Quality strategy for London, the NV200 is powered by a turbocharged 1.5-litre diesel engine which emits 138g/km of CO2.

That's significantly better than rivals like the TX4, which emit 209g/km of CO2 at best. The Nissan's engine is claimed to average 53.3mpg, again more efficient than the TX4 which is capable of averaging around 35mpg.

Nissan expects most NV200 taxis to be sold with an automatic transmission but a six-speed manual gearbox will be offered.

The most controversial aspect of the new NV200 taxi is likely to be the demise of the traditional black cab.

A Nissan spokesman said "When the old black cab was introduced it was a car like any other but in time it achieved iconic status. At first people might be perplexed but once there are a good number of NV200s on the road it may well achieve the same iconic status.”

The new taxi will be first introduced into London, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow. Nissan also has contracts to sell and operate the NV200 taxi in Tokyo and New York, prior to its launch in the UK.

Additionally, Nissan is planning tests for an electric version of the NV200 taxi, utilising the Nissan LEAF's electric drivetrain. It would offer a potential range of around 100 miles and would mean that drivers could buy and operate a taxi with zero CO2 emissions.

This electric version - called the e-NV200 - could be charged overnight using a household plug socket, although Nissan hopes to install fast charging points in numerous locations. These would allow for a full charge in 30 minutes, ideal for drivers on a break.

Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President of Nissan, said "Nissan is proud to be delivering a 21st century vision for one of London's most iconic vehicles. The ‘black cab' is as much a part of the London landscape as Big Ben and, whilst there will always be a place for that familiar silhouette, the Nissan NV200 London Taxi focuses as much attention on its interior as the exterior - a better experience for drivers and passengers."

The new Nissan NV200 London Taxi is undergoing trials at the moment but it's expected to go on sale in 2013 for £28,000. Top specification models could set buyers back as much as £44,000.