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by Tim Beissmann

London’s traditional black cab scene could be in for a significant tune-up, with the Nissan NV200 London Taxi set to roll out across the fleet in 2014.

Following an exclusive deal announced last May that will see 13,000 NV200 cabs dominate the New York City streetscape for the next decade, Nissan has confirmed its intention to put its mark on the hackney carriage market with a black, right-hand-drive version of the versatile van.

With the only two alternatives currently available to London’s 22,600 cab drivers being the Mercedes-Benz Vito van and the traditional LTI TX4 wagon, the diesel-powered NV200 London Taxi promises to be 50 per cent more fuel efficient than the best of its competitors and produce 50 per cent fewer CO2 emissions.

The introduction of the NV200 will also bring a significant reduction in NOx (nitrogen oxides) emissions (down from 0.50g/km to 0.14g/km) and particulate matter emissions (down from 0.056g/km to 0.001g/km). Currently, 10 per cent of London’s NOx emissions come from black cabs while particulate matter accounts for 20 per cent of central London’s airborne pollution.

The NV200 London Taxi program has the full backing of London mayor Boris Johnson as well as the London Taxi Drivers’ Association, Transport for London, Glasgow Taxis and a number of disability groups.

Nissan says the NV200 will be cheaper to buy than the TX4 and – based on the 70,000km average yearly mileage of a black cab and the NV200’s better fuel economy – should also save drivers roughly $1000 in fuel per year.

The Nissan NV200 seats five adults and features a large glass roof, sliding side doors, USB ports and 12-volt sockets, anti-bacterial seat materials, and the all-important 8m turning circle – a requirement mandated for cabs to be able to negotiate the tight roundabout of the Savoy Hotel, among others.

The Nissan NV200 black cabs will pick up their first fares on London’s streets in the first half of 2014, with a fully electric version – the eNV200 – also planned for service in 2014.




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