They’re as well-known as The Houses of Parliament or Harrods luxury department store, but soon London’s iconic black taxi cabs could be getting an all-electric makeover courtesy of an electric taxi being tested by Nissan. 

The news was announced at the London launch of the NV200 taxi cab, a diesel-powered variant of the gasoline NV200 taxi cab that helped Nissan win a $1 billion, ten-year exclusive contract to become the official supplier of New York Taxi Cabs from 2013.

Nissan says its diesel-powered NV200 black Hackney carriage will receive official London Taxi certification later this year, followed next year by the introduction of an all-electric e-NV200 taxi test fleet.

Although we’ve yet to see the all-electric taxi, we have seen the e-NV200 van prototype which Nissan unveiled at the 2012 Detroit auto show and on which the e-NV200 taxi will be based.

Due to enter production in Spain next year, the e-NV200 van is powered by the same 80 kilowatt motor and 24-kilowatt-hour battery pack found in the 2012 Nissan Leaf. 

Consequentially, it also shares the Leaf's capability to charge its battery pack to 80 percent full in under 30 minutes using a suitable 50-kilowatt, direct current fast charger.

Nissan's electric-powered e-NV200 concept.

Nissan's electric-powered e-NV200 concept.

At its unveiling earlier this year, Nissan’s corporate vice-president Hideto Murakami promised the e-NV200 prototype “would energize the current compact van market in more ways than one.” 

With ever-stringent emissions requirements requiring all but the greenest of vehicles pay a daily congestion charge when driving in London, an all-electric e-NV200 taxi has the potential to be an instant hit. 

“Improving air quality in London is one of the most important challenges I face as Mayor,” said Boris Johnson, Mayor of London. “I am absolutely delighted that manufacturers are stepping up to the plate and are responding to the challenge I set in my air quality strategy to reduce taxi emissions and improve efficiency.”

However, as Nissan warns, the success of a potential electric taxi fleet is heavily dependent on the infrastructure that cities put in place to support it. 

Nissan NV200 Taxi

Nissan NV200 Taxi

For Taxis that can be in use 24 hours a day with multiple drivers, that means the installation of direct current fast charging stations at strategic points throughout a city.

“Discussions with all the stakeholders will continue to try and make an e-NV200 a realistic proposition by increasing investment in charging infrastructure,” Nissan promised. 

We only have one question: will Nissan’s all-electric taxi cab move from test phase to production? 

Let us know your predictions in the Comments below. 


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