Back in 2014 Nissan unveiled what was heralded as the new face for Taxis in London, re-designed to make it instantly recognisable as one of the capital's iconic black cabs.
Based on the company's successful multi-purpose NV200 platform, the vehicle was first unveiled as a bold and exciting new vision for the famous London Hackney Carriage in August 2012. In response to feedback from the London Mayor's office, Transport for London and other key organisations which have put their backing behind the new taxi, Nissan has redesigned the vehicle to better reflect the iconic nature of the traditional black cab.
Nissan's newly-redesigned taxi had been developed for London, in London, by Nissan Design Europe (NDE) in Paddington, the same design centre responsible for the Qashqai and Juke. The new taxi was due to be launched in December 2014 with a modern, clean, 1.6-litre petrol engine equipped with an automatic gearbox. Furthermore, Nissan were due to launch a zero emission electric version of the NV200 taxi in 2015.
Nissan already had a rich pedigree in the London taxi market - its 2.7-litre TD27 diesel engine was fitted to the FX4 ‘Fairway' and TX1 black cabs during the 1980s and ‘90s and gained a reputation for reliability and durability. In developing the NV200 Taxi for London, Nissan had ensured that it adheres to the strict TfL regulations governing Hackney Carriages, including the required 25-foot (7.6-metre) turning circle.
The NV200 cab for London was part of Nissan's global taxi programme, which also encompasses New York, Barcelona and Tokyo. The London version's design was bespoke, reflecting the rich heritage and status of London's black cabs.
Among the specific changes that were been made to the front of the NV200 taxi are:
Round headlamps and a re-modelled grille mirroring the traditional black cab ‘face'
LED lighting to improve visibility of the traditional taxi sign
Completely new front bumper panels
Design Excellence Manager at NDE, Darryl Scriven, said: "Having already overcome the unique technical challenges presented by the development of a new Hackney Carriage for London ahead of our launch of the vehicle in August 2012, we turned our attention to making the vehicle look the part.
"The Mayor's office and taxi drivers were very keen that we maintain the character of the Hackney Carriage, making it something that people in the city can be proud of.
"The main challenges were concerned with making sure customers can easily recognise it as a taxi. Being in London, we were able to go out and talk to cabbies about what was important to them as well as look at the vehicle from a customer's viewpoint. It's unusual for us to be able to work on something as bespoke as this, specifically for one location in the world and we are very proud to have been asked to do so."
Andy Palmer, Chief Planning Officer and Executive Vice President, Nissan Motor Corporation, said: "Since we launched our Taxi for London in August 2012, we have worked closely with the Mayor's office and associated stakeholders and interested parties to ensure that Nissan's new cab not only raises the bar for both driver and passenger, but is also as instantly-recognisable as its legendary forebears.
"Alongside this, our engineers at Nissan Technical Centre Europe in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, have continued work on the cab, running real-world trials on the streets of London."
Nissan franchise dealer group, Glyn Hopkin, was appointed as the exclusive retailer to sell the Nissan NV200 Taxi for London from a purpose-built, ultra-modern showroom facility based in Canary Wharf.
However, the goalpost were moved by the then London Mayor Boris Johnson and the project was put on hold. The showroom closed before a taxi was sold.
In November 2014 Nissan Motor GB announced that it had suspended its London Taxi Project pending the outcome of London's Ultra-Low Emission Zone consultation.
The consultation proposed to create an ultra-low emission zone and required all new taxis registered in the Capital to be zero emission capable by 2018. It was later implemented, meaning that Nissan's planned petrol taxi did not meet requirements.
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