By Lilia Guan
Designed by Nissan North America, the NV200 has been chosen as the winner of New York City’s Taxi of Tomorrow competition.
The goal of the, two-year-long Taxi of Tomorrow procurement process was to leverage the buying power of the combined taxicab industry to produce a taxicab that will offer both passengers and drivers a safe, comfortable ride.
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 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.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg stated the city will enter into final negotiations with Nissan to make the NV200 one of the first taxicab specially built for use in the American city and exclusive taxicab for a decade.
The NV200 has been billed as one of the safest taxi that will be in the City.
Nissan has designed the cab to feature passenger airbags and completes US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash testing with the taxi partition and equipment installed.
“We started this process to leverage our taxi industry’s purchasing power and redefine the legendary image of New York City taxicabs,” Mayor Bloomberg said.
“The taxis will be custom-designed to meet the specific demands of carrying 600000 passengers a day in New York City traffic and the vehicle meets the top priorities identified by the public in our on-line survey.”
The evaluation process focused on two major categories; the qualifications and ability of the proposer to deliver on the various aspects of the agreement; and 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.
Also taken into consideration was 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.
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 were; environmental sustainability; passenger comfort; and safety.
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.
The manufacturer will also 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.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission recently launched a plan to create an effective, city-wide Wheelchair Accessibility Dispatch System, utilising 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.
Could your city do with a fleet of taxis like this?
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