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Nissan NV200 to become exclusive taxicab of New York

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Mike Goetz
New York City streets will look totally different in a few years time, and it will have nothing to do with new buildings, landscaping, or lighting.

In a historic agreement, virtually all of New York City’s current fleet of 13,000-plus taxicabs – currently composed half by Ford Crown Victoria models and half by a mixture of other models – will be ultimately replaced by one single model, the Nissan NV200.

Ford Crown Victoria taxi front 3/4 view
Ford Crown Victoria taxi (Photo: Mike Goetz/

New York issued a public request for proposal, to re-imagine the city’s taxi system. The city wanted to work with a single automaker, or a partnership that included an automaker, to ensure a more consistent and streamlined taxicab solution to replace the current one, which is characterized as a mishmash of various vehicles and suppliers.

Peter Bedrosian, senior manager of product planning at Nissan North America, was charged with making Nissan’s pitch to the city. I caught up with him at the brand’s NY auto show display, where the New York NV200 was prominently featured in all of its yellow glory. He said the city loved Nissan’s offer of letting New Yorkers decide on many design aspects of the vehicle. City officials, cab companies, drivers, passengers, and residents, were all consulted.

“We gave New York the chance to customize it to their needs,” noted Bedrosian. “We had the basic shell of the vehicle, but left it to New York City for input on the interior design… We gave them access to all of our designers and engineers. The entire OEM organization was at their disposal.”

The NV200 has yet to come to Canada, but when it does in 2013, it will be exclusively as a commercial version with no rear seats. As with the cab versions, they will all feature a 2.0L, 4-cylinder gas engine hooked up to a CVT.

No hybrid powertrain?

“No hybrid. Strictly petrol at the moment. Of course we want to continue to advance the powertrain through the life of this taxi. We’ll monitor how the taxicabs are working. We’ll have more evolution than taxis have had in this market.”

Note also, that with the NV200 EV on the way, New York gets a potential electric taxi option down the road. But not right away. As part of this deal, Nissan will provide six LEAFs and three Level-2 charging stations at no charge to taxi owners and NYC to test and explore electrification of the taxi fleet.

Nissan NV200 front 3/4 view
Nissan NV200 (Photo: Nissan)
Mike Goetz
Mike Goetz
Automotive expert