Environmental efficiency trumps nostalgia, in this case.
The distinctive TX4 black cab ferries approximately 300,000 people across the streets of London each day but from next year it won’t be the only official taxi available to the city’s commuters.
Car manufacturer Nissan has announced that its NV200 London Taxi is due to take to the capital’s street from spring 2013. Nissan claims that one of the automobile’s main boons is its fuel capacity and energy efficiency: achieving up to 53.3mpg on a combined cycle it should provide an almost 50 per cent fuel saving with the most efficient TX4 model, with its combined cycle figure of 35.3mpg. With fuel costs accounting for around 10 per cent of taxi driver overheads, Nissan estimates that NV200 London Taxi drivers could save about 50 per cent of their fuel costs per year – around £700 – over TX4 drivers.
In terms of its environmental impact, the NV200 London Taxi’s Euro V engine emits up to 138g/km of CO2, compared with 209g/km from the ‘greenest’ TX4 model. If all of London’s licensed taxis were replaced with the NV200 London Taxi, Nissan asserts that there would be a CO2 reduction across London of 37,970 metric tonnes each year – the equivalent of planting 10,000 acres, or two Congestion Charge zones, of trees every 12 months.
It is possible that an all-electric version of the NV200 London Taxi will be subsequently introduced to London, with a prototype scheduled to operate in the city on an as-yet-unconfirmed date next year. The introduction of these Nissan models won’t see the elimination of TX4 black cabs from London streets; rather, drivers will be able to choose the taxi that appeals to them most.
Visitors to the city will notice that the new cab lacks its predecessor’s instantly recognisable silhouette. It is based on Nissan’s multipurpose compact van that launched in 2009 and is available in 40 different countries. A version of the taxi is also due to be rolled out in New York and Tokyo. As with current black cabs, the taxi will accommodate five passengers in addition to the driver. It will have sliding doors rather than ones that swing outwards and will be accessible to a wheelchair user.