May 03, 2011  |  NYC.gov

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith and Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky today announced that the NV200, designed by Nissan North America, Inc., has been chosen as the winner of the Taxi of Tomorrow competition. The City now will enter into final negotiations with Nissan to make the NV200 the first taxicab specially built for use in New York City and the City’s exclusive taxicab for a decade.

The NV200 will be the safest taxi ever used in the City. It will be the first cab with passenger airbags and the first to complete U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash testing with the taxi partition and taxi equipment installed. The vehicle has a many of first of its kind features: the most comfort for drivers and passengers – including more passenger room than any City taxi ever on the road and a smooth ride designed for passenger comfort; a transparent roof; charging stations for mobile devices; a high fuel efficiency rating; built-in GPS navigation and others. Additionally, the Nissan vehicle received high scores in the top categories identified as taxi priorities by nearly 23,000 people surveyed.

The Mayor was joined at the announcement in the Blue Room of City Hall by Nissan Americas Chairman Carlos Tavares, Nissan Americas Vice President of Commercial Vehicles Joe Castelli, Nissan Americas Director of Commercial Vehicles Mike Hobson. Also joining the Mayor were Ron Sherman, President of the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade and other representatives of major taxi fleets and taxi owners who support the use of the NV200 as the City’s next taxi.

“The City’s Taxi of Tomorrow is the Nissan NV 200 – and it’s going to be the safest, most comfortable and most convenient cab the City has ever had,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We started this process to leverage our taxi industry’s purchasing power to get the highest quality taxi, one that that can expand and redefine the legendary image of New York City taxicabs. The new taxis will be custom-designed to meet the specific demands of carrying 600,000 passengers a day in New York City traffic and the vehicle meets the top priorities identified by the public in our on-line survey.”

“Today we are announcing not the end of a process, but the beginning of one,” said Deputy Mayor Goldsmith. “In partnering with Nissan North America, we have leveraged our purchasing power to improve service for both passengers and drivers alike. Our taxi industry is a vital part of our transportation network, and this partnership will ensure that it plays a central role in an innovative, sustainable future for our City.”

“Never before in the 100-plus year history of the taxi industry has its combined strength been used to drive the design and creation of a purpose-built vehicle, tuned to the streets it will be driving on.” said Taxi Commissioner Yassky. “For the first time, we’ll have a taxicab that wasn’t ‘off the rack’, but rather custom-tailored to create the best fit for the drivers, owners and passengers of our city. This is the heir apparent to the Checker, and people are going to fall in love with this taxi once they ride in it. It is going to represent New York City well.”

“Nissan is proud to provide the next generation of taxis for the City of New York,” said Carlos Tavares, Chairman, Nissan Americas. “The NV200 taxi will give Nissan the opportunity to showcase our dedication to vehicle quality and urban mobility to more than 600,000 passengers a day.”

“New York City has the highest quality taxi service in the world, but operating taxicabs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in this great city also comes with great challenges – like finding the right vehicles that meet the highest levels of comfort, safety and durability as well as being fuel efficient and affordable,” said Ron Sherman, President of the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade which is comprised of 33 taxi fleets and more than 3,500 yellow medallion taxicabs. “We are therefore encouraged by the City’s assurance that its Taxi of Tomorrow selection - the Nissan NV200 – will be a commercial-grade, purpose-built taxicab that will meet MTBOT’s high standards. If that indeed becomes the case, we will have made great progress in further improving taxi service for all New Yorkers. We are also pleased that the TLC has agreed to permit taxi owners to place interim vehicles like the Ford Transit Connect taxicab into service as early as next month which helps our operators continue running purpose-built taxicabs.”

The goal of the unique, two-year-long Taxi of Tomorrow procurement process was to leverage the buying power of the combined taxicab industry to produce a superior taxicab that will offer both passengers and drivers alike a safe, comfortable ride with never-before-available amenities.

It is anticipated the first “Taxi of Tomorrow” will be introduced into service in late 2013. As part of the regular phase out of taxis, the current fleet on the road will be retired out of service within three to five years, depending on whether they are in-use part or full-time, and replaced by the Nissan NV200.

Nissan will be able to manufacture the NV200 to run on electric-only power starting in 2017. The City will test the use of all-electric powered taxis starting in 2012 with six fully electric Nissan Leafs – provided free of charge – to road test electric vehicles. If the pilot proves successful, the City will explore the possibility of the wider use of electric powered taxis.

Nissan NV200 Features

Safety

  • First-ever NYC Taxi to be crash-tested with full taxi equipment, including the partition
  • Passenger airbags designed to work around the partition
  • Exterior alert lights to inform other drivers of taxi doors being opened
  • Sliding doors to eliminate “dooring” of other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians

Comfort

  • More Passenger knee room than any NYC taxicab ever, including the Checker
  • Flat middle seat Anti-bacterial, non-stick seats
  • Flat “no hump” passenger floor area
  • Custom-configured vehicle ride to deliver maximum comfort for passengers and drivers
  • Independent passenger climate controls
  • Filtered interior air

Amenities

  • Transparent, panoramic roof panel with shade
  • Passenger charging stations – one regular outlet and two USB passenger ports to charge mobile devices
  • Passenger reading lights
  • Interior floor lighting for easy nighttime seating and to help locate belongings
  • More luggage room than a Crown Victoria
  • Exterior “horn light” to reduce horn usage

Economy

  • Lowest price at purchase of any final candidate
  • Lowest annual cost to operate the vehicle – maintenance, parts, and fuel
  • Lowest costs will help reduce need for future fare increases

Ease of Entry and Exit

  • Low, flat floor with deployable side entry step
  • Built-in grab handles to assist entrance
  • Extra light, easy-to-open sliding doors
  • Spacious cabin, no need to twist or pivot to be seated

Driver Features

  • Adjustable driver seat that can recline even with partition
  • Separate driver climate controls
  • High fuel efficiency will be a major financial advantage for drivers
  • GPS navigation
  • More driver leg room

Fuel Efficiency[1]

  • Highest fuel efficiency compared to other finalists (25 MPG)
  • Ability to be manufactured with fully electric power

Vehicle Sticker Information

  • Passenger Knee Room – 55 inches
  • Driver legroom – 1 inch more than extended Crown Victoria and Ford Escape
  • Wheelbase – 115 inches
  • Vehicle Height – 73 inches
  • Vehicle Length – 186 inches
  • Vehicle Width – 68 inches
  • Engine Displacement – 2.0 liters
  • Four cylinders
  • Estimated EPA Combined Label Fuel Economy – 25 MPG
  • Driven axle – Front
  • When Available – Late 2013
  • Model Year – 2014
  • Estimated Base Taxi MSRP – $29,000 – including features previously purchased after-market for all prior taxi vehicles (price pending final modifications)

Evaluation Process

The evaluation process focused on two major categories: 1) the qualifications and ability of the proposer to deliver on the various aspects of the agreement and 2) how the proposed vehicle interacts with its passengers and operators.

In the first category, evaluators considered the organizational capability of the proposer and relevant experience of the proposer. In the second category, evaluators reviewed such areas as the proposed vehicles’ safety, ergonomics, average cost to the taxi industry to purchase and total lifecycle costs to operate the vehicle as a taxi, internal air/environmental quality (HVAC), overall ride quality (noise or vibration), the vehicle durability, the design elements, and warranty and service provision, as well as proposers’ plans for stakeholder outreach to help provide input on the final design.

Survey Results

A public survey of taxi vehicle preferences elicited nearly 23,000 responses from the riding public, and the survey results were used to ensure the evaluation process met the needs and desires of passengers. Survey participants’ top three taxi priorities, in order, were:

  1. Environmental sustainability
  2. Passenger comfort
  3. Safety

The Nissan NV200 delivers on passenger comfort and safety. While the Taxi of Tomorrow selection did not use fuel efficiency as a specific criterion, the Nissan vehicle does have the highest fuel efficiency of the three finalists and was the only vehicle to offer the potential to eventually convert to fully electric power.

Owner Advantages

Vehicle durability, ease-of-repair, and quality repair services are especially important to the taxi industry since taxis are on the road 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and operate in all weather conditions in a challenging urban environment. The choice of Nissan will meet taxi owners’ needs:

  • All Nissan commercial dealerships will accept walk-ins for taxi repairs and service by the first available technician at the first available service bay, helping to put taxicabs back out on the street more efficiently.
  • Nissan will provide option to train taxi fleets' maintenance staff to perform limited warranty-covered repairs on the NV200 in-house, enabling fleets to continue to perform many of their own repairs.
  • The vehicle purchase price includes many taxi features that currently must be purchased and installed after-market at an additional cost to owners and Nissan may provide multi-vehicle purchase incentives to fleet purchasers.

Taxi Accessibility

The Taxi and Limousine Commission recently launched a plan to create an effective, city-wide Wheelchair Accessibility Dispatch System, utilizing information gained over the course of a two-year pilot program. The program, which is currently proceeding through a Request for Proposals process, would allow wheelchair users to call 311 for pick-up anywhere in the city by either an accessible yellow taxicab or an accessible for-hire vehicle. Additionally, Nissan has designed a wheelchair-accessible version of the NV200 that it will make available to any taxi purchaser at an additional cost.

The City’s Department for the Aging will also work with Nissan to identify and incorporate design features, like the aforementioned hand grips, safety step and extra large entry room, to make the vehicle even more age-friendly.

Nissan North America

 

Nissan North America is headquartered in Franklin, Tennessee. The company employs more than 11,000 people at its facilities throughout the U.S., which include manufacturing plants in Smyrna and Decherd, Tennessee, and Canton, Miss., as well as design, engineering, sales, administrative and parts distribution locations across the country.

The company produces more than 3.2 million vehicles per year

 


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