A contract between Nissan and the city of New York for a fleet of taxis is before the courts, with a New York Supreme Court Justice ruling that part of the program’s deal is “null, void and unenforceable”.
Industry journal Automotive News reports that only five months out from the rollout of the ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ (ToT) program, Justice Peter Moulton of the New York Supreme Court has ruled that the contract awarded to Nissan by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission in 2011 is flawed due to the city’s specific call for a “hybrid electric vehicle” not being met by the petrol-powered Nissan NV200.
While the report states that Nissan has promised the city of New York a battery-powered, zero-emission electric version of the NV200 will be released in the future – backed up by court documents from Nissan assuring a hybrid version is planned for 2015 – Justice Moulton ruled that New York taxi companies must be able to buy hybrid electric vehicles from other companies despite the exclusive nature of the initial 10-year contract, worth an estimated US$1 billion.
Chairman of the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission, David Yassky, said the ruling would not delay the implementation of the Taxi of Tomorrow program.
“The TLC is acting to ensure that taxi owners will continue to have the option to purchase a hybrid vehicle, even once the ToT hits the road in October.”
According to the report, the TLC is to meet on June 20 to propose new rules on hybrid taxis to rectify the issue.
Powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, the Nissan NV200 taxi has been modified to carry four passengers and luggage, with greater rear legroom, sliding doors, side steps, grab handles, phone chargers, reading lights and a transparent roof all fitted for the role.
No impact on the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle taxi pilot program launched in New York City in April has been announced.