New York, your Taxi of Tomorrow is on its way--as the first examples have just rolled off the line at its factory in Mexico.

Taxi of Tomorrow is another name for Nissan's NV200 van, chosen by the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission as the city's official taxi--replacing cars like the venerable Ford Crown Victoria.

Nissan has already confirmed (via Indian Autos Blog) high demand for the Taxi of Tomorrow, and the Cuernavaca plant is working 23 hours per day, six days a week to cope.

Unlike the Crown Vics, many of which are repurposed ex-police vehicles, the Taxi of Tomorrow is specially-designed for the job of taxiing--much like the dedicated taxis used in places like London and Tokyo.

Among its highlights are a transparent glass roof allowing passengers to stare skyward, USB chargers for powering phones and laptops. Sliding doors and greater luggage space improve passenger access and comfort, and "germ-fighting seats" make for a cleaner journey.

Cleaner too is the NV200's 2.0-liter gasoline engine.

Where the V-8 engined Crown Vics typically get around 12 mpg in service, the NV200 is more than double this at 25 mpg. That's still a fair way short of the 34 mpg attained by hybrid taxis like the Ford Escape, but enough to significantly improve NYC's fleet average.

While gasoline NV200s will make up most of the fleet, New York taxi drivers will still be able to opt for hybrid vehicles--after initially being told that hybrids too would be phased out.

Nissan's own Leaf and an expected electric NV200 are also on the cards, the former already enjoyed by a small group of taxi drivers as part of a New York trial.

The Mexican factory is already getting into the New York spirit too, as the plant's director Jose Luis Benitez explained--"We are proudly Mexicans, but today we are New Yorkers. Celebrating and sharing with New York our passion for innovation."

The first of the new taxis will hit New York's streets this fall.


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