The all-electric Nissan Leaf will be the centrepiece of a new electric vehicle taxi pilot launched in New York City.
The EV pilot program, launched by Nissan and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, will see six Nissan Leaf taxis put into service in the coming months in a bid to help the car maker, the city, the New York City taxi industry and the general public understand how zero-emission vehicles can be integrated into taxi fleets in the near future.
Along with the six Nissan EVs donated to New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission – each one powered by an 80kW/280Nm electric motor with a recently updated range of 199km – Nissan and its partners will also be installing several DC quick charge stations that allow the Leafs to be recharged to about 80 per cent of their maximum in under 30 minutes.
Vice president of Nissan commercial vehicles for Nissan North America, Joe Castelli, said the Japanese manufacturer was looking for ways to broaden the use of electric cars, including commercial applications like taxis, as part of its commitment to zero-emission vehicles for the mass market.
“Following the selection of Nissan NV200 as New York City’s Taxi of Tomorrow, our relationship with the city provides us the ultimate proving ground to conduct this Leaf taxi pilot to help optimise the use of electric vehicle technology for future applications,” Castelli said.
Mayor Bloomberg said the EV taxi pilot program would be a significant help with moving towards his goal of having one-third of the taxi fleet powered by an electric source by 2020.
“Even though the Taxi of Tomorrow won’t be on the road for another six months, we’re already looking ahead to the taxi of the day after tomorrow.”
The one-year Nissan Leaf taxi pilot program follows in the footsteps of the non-electric Nissan NV200 taxi program that will take place from late-2013 to 2023.
New York City’s current taxi fleet comprises more than 13,000 cars, with the average cab covering 60,000km a year.