A new design of London cab should be hitting the roads later this month when Nissan formally launches its NV200 taxi in the UK. Currently only two designs of cab are licensed as official London taxis – the iconic LTI TX4 manufactured by Manganese Bronze and Mercedes Benz’s Vito design – but Nissan has already had considerable success with its NV200 in Tokyo and New York and is clearly hoping to make a similar impact in the English capital.
One reason for the Japanese car maker’s optimism is its claim that the NV200 is a pretty impressive 50% more fuel efficient than the alternative taxi designs on offer (53.3mpg for the 1.5 litre diesel engine that the cab will use at first, compared with 35.3mpg for the TX4 and 34.9mpg for the Vito). This figure, if accurate, could save the typical London cabbie something in the region of £700 per year in fuel costs, which is obviously worth having.
And the NV200 design also wins, according to Nissan, when it comes to emissions, with the Japanese firm claiming that its new London cab will emit 139g/km of carbon dioxide, compared with 209g/km for the best performing TX4 and 213g/km for the Vito.
This is just the first step, however, as Nissan is looking to introduce an electric version of the NV200 London design, possibly as early as next year. If this is achieved, then Nissan will have introduced a zero emissions taxi to London six years ahead of London mayor Boris Johnson’s target of 2020.
Some may mourn the possible demise of the traditional London black cab design, should Nissan (or Mercedes, come to that) come to dominate sales of new taxis in the capital. But readers should not despair utterly, however, as Boris Johnson has apparently intervened directly with Nissan to try and get the company to design a cab that, allegedly, “conjures up an image of a bowler hat”. Can’t wait to see what this means in practice.