- Bespoke exterior design to maximize passenger space and comfort
- Wider track to accommodate modified steering system
- Twin sliding doors for easy access
The innovative new Nissan London Taxi has been designed to take full advantage of the NV200's clever packaging and occupant-friendly exterior features. Thanks to its generously sized rear passenger cell, the NV200 London Taxi is big enough to seat five passengers in comfort, yet compact enough to navigate and thrive in the Capital's famously tricky streets.
The clean, functional design of the NV200 London Taxi combines styling cues from existing Nissan passenger cars and commercial vehicles and adds a number of unique features such as the dramatic upswept swage line that neatly frames the door glass. This sculpted line runs around the front of the vehicle to create a dramatic sense of movement, while the deep side windows provide enhanced visibility - an essential quality in a busy city environment.
The front end features a bold look that incorporates Nissan's latest design language. The distinctive grille flows into the slimline wraparound headlights, while body-colored bumpers extend seamlessly into the specially widened front wings to create a smooth, powerful look. The striking extended wheel arches are unique to the London Taxi, and accommodate the vehicle's wider track and modified suspension and steering system.
The NV200 London Taxi also features unique front direction indicators. Relocated into the lower half of the bumper they sit further towards the outer edges of the vehicle and are integrated with LED daytime running lights. This gives them greater visibility in urban traffic.
Finally, no taxi would be complete without a roof sign, so the new NV200 London Taxi features a specially-developed unit that has been fully approved by Transport for London (TfL).
To give passengers the best possible view out, the NV200 London Taxi features large side windows that extend the full length of the vehicle. The glass area is uninterrupted by doorframes or body pillars to create a sleek, uncluttered look. Continuing the theme, the door handles are flush rather than proud of the bodywork.
Another key advantage the NV200 enjoys over its more traditional London Taxi rivals is passenger access via twin sliding doors. An integral part of the NV200's design, the doors are wide, easy to use and can be opened without threatening the safety of passing traffic. The wide opening and high roofline also makes it much easier for occupants carrying large or heavy bags to get in and out.
To further improve access for all passengers, the left-hand door aperture has been enlarged (30mm increase in width, 20mm in height) to meet the requirements of wheelchair users.
As a result of this modification, the NV200 London Taxi meets all TfL regulations in regard to access, and has been approved by disability group Assist UK. The organization has been involved at numerous stages in the vehicle's development, and has provided the design and engineering team valuable feedback.
At the rear, the NV200 London Taxi has practical twin loading doors split 70/30. These give access to a large luggage area that can be altered by sliding the seat units backwards and forwards.
- Unique cabin with separate driver and passenger compartments
- Five-seater layout with three-seat rear split rear bench mounted on runners
- Sliding rear seat allows for luggage space flexibility
- TfL approved seating access and controls
- Large glass roof boosts headroom and creates lighter cabin
- Full wheelchair access via nearside sliding door
The flexible nature of the NV200's platform makes it the perfect machine on which to base a 21st Century London Taxi. Not only does the NV200 London Taxi's interior meet the demands of the modern traveller, it also exceeds the strict requirements set down in Transport for London (TfL)'s Conditions of Fitness (CoF).
Any manufacturer wishing for a vehicle to be approved by TfL as a London Taxi must meet every condition set down in the CoF. However, with many of these regulations dating back to times when vehicle construction was less advanced (the original document was issued in 1906), meeting and exceeding them has required a significant investment in engineering resources.
The result is a bespoke interior that sets new standards for London Taxi passenger comfort, refinement and flexibility. The main passenger area is accessed via twin sliding doors, with the nearside aperture modified to allow a wheelchair to gain access. Both doors incorporate automatic securing devices that prevent them being opened when the vehicle is moving. To meet CoF regulations, the doors do not open if the driver has the foot brake depressed.
The seating follows a conventional London Taxi five-seater layout with a rear bench (capable of accommodating three passengers) and two rear-facing, fold-down seats opposite. However, the NV200 differs from traditional London Taxis by having the rear bench split 70/30 and mounted on tracks. This allows for much greater cabin flexibility, as the two seat units can be moved independently to accommodate large or awkwardly shaped luggage. This facility also has benefits when carrying passengers in wheelchairs as it creates more floor area in which to turn and manouvre. To free up even more luggage space, the front passenger seat has been removed.
The two rearward-facing seats are attached to a new driver bulkhead that separates the driver from the passenger compartment. Constructed from steel and plastic, this reinforced divide has a dog-leg shape that creates extra legroom and further aids the loading of a wheelchair. The bulkhead also incorporates mountings for the seatbelts, along with fixing points to enable a wheelchair to be secured. An easy-to-use loading ramp has been developed and can be stored within the cabin.
To complete the accessibility package, high-visibility grab handles have been attached to the leading edge of the door apertures.
Another unique design feature of the NV200 London Taxi is its large panoramic glass roof. Measuring 1.2m by 1.2m, it gives passengers an unrivalled view of the sky above and has the added advantage of providing more headroom.
Usability and longevity are two qualities essential in a taxi interior and here again, the NV200 London Taxi excels. It features all the elements required to qualify as a London Taxi, including a high-level Taximeter, two-way radio for communication between the driver and passengers, and independent heating and lighting controls.
The cabin lighting control switch has been installed in the approved position, while a door-activated floor lighting system has been developed, fitted and approved. Even the seat facings have been developed specifically for use in taxis. Not only do they feature high-visibility yellow panels at their leading edges, they are also finished in a special hard-wearing material that is easy to clean.
And it's not just passengers who get to benefit from the NV200's spacious and practical cabin. The front of the vehicle offers drivers a comfortable and well-appointed 'office' in which to conduct a day's work. Designed to offer long-distance comfort for professional users, the design of the driving environment has been carefully thought-out.
The cabin abounds with clever touches, such as card holders on the backs of the sun visors; trays within the center console storage area; and a convenience hook for hanging goods. The door pockets are large enough to hold two A4-sized map books, while a secret compartment within the glovebox can house valuables out of sight.
The instrument panel houses one of the most comprehensive trip computers available anywhere. As well as the more usual pieces of information - fuel consumption, service intervals, mileage displays etc - the computer can be programmed by the driver to provide a helpful shift-up display. Another crucial feature for any hard working cabbie is Bluetooth connectivity. This is fitted as standard and allows for hand-free operation of most compatible phones.
DRIVETRAIN AND CHASSIS
- Modified suspension and steering system to achieve required 25ft turning circle
- Unique 'steering knuckle' strut design delivers greater wheel articulation
- Electric power steering for efficiency and ease of use at low speeds
- Frugal and clean 1.5-litre dCi turbodiesel engines
- Potential savings of over £650 for taxi drivers covering 22k miles a year
With a proven, low-emission diesel drivetrain and bespoke suspension design, the Nissan NV200 London Taxi comfortably exceeds the standards required to qualify as a Hackney Carriage.
The vehicle is based on a modified and stretched version of the successful Renault Nissan Alliance road car B platform, and delivers incredible maneuverability for the driver and a sophisticated, comfortable ride for all five passengers.
In order to meet Transport for London's Condition of Fitness (CoF) requirement for a 25ft (7.62m) turning circle, the NV200's entire front suspension and steering assembly has been redesigned. Developed and engineered by an engineering team at Vectayn in the UK, the new system allows for greater wheel articulation with no compromise to the vehicle's interior packaging.
To achieve the required level of articulation, both front wheels have been moved 100mm outboard. In addition, the front suspension has been changed from the standard MacPherson Strut to a new design that incorporates a separate steering knuckle connected via swivel bearings.
With a conventional strut, the whole assembly turns when steering is applied. By switching to a separate knuckle layout, only the knuckle and the hub turn. This, in turn, allows for much greater wheel articulation and ensures that the wheel remains perpendicular to the road at all times.
Combined with the wider track (which allows for the turned wheel to clear the inner wheel arch), modified steering rack and double Cardan driveshafts that incorporate two universal joints, the NV200 London Taxi has a turning circle of less than 25ft (7.62m).
The new assembly is mounted on a sub-frame that is connected to the vehicle with compliant rubber mounts. These mounts help isolate noise and vibration while a revised anti-roll bar gives effective control of body roll under cornering.
At the rear, the NV200 London Taxi features double-elliptical leaf springs. The entire rear suspension system is very compact and uses heavily-angled dampers to minimize cabin intrusion. This has the added benefit of keeping the floor as low as possible.
The NV200 London Taxi also features an impressive array of safety features designed to protect occupants and pedestrians. High intensity cabin and door impact absorption structures help provide a safety shield around occupants in an accident, while pedestrian safety is enhanced by the use of energy-absorbing materials in the bumper, bonnet and cowl.
To make life on the road as easy as possible for drivers, the NV200 London Taxi is fitted with an electric power steering - specifically tuned for European roads. With a strong self-centering action at lower engine speeds, it makes light work of tight manouevres and delivers excellent feedback to the driver.
Another area where the NV200 London Taxi excels is in the braking department. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) are standard on NV200, and are augmented by Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD). Brake Assist maintains maximum deceleration during an emergency stop even if the driver reduces the pedal effort while EBD constantly alters the front disc to rear drum balance to achieve optimum brake performance, automatically compensating for differing passenger weights.
The NV200 London Taxi is powered by a frugal 1.5-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine with two power outputs: 89hp and 110hp. Based on the K9K 1.5dCi common rail unit, the 1,461cc eight-valve engine combines excellent fuel economy with low maintenance costs and punchy performance. It also has exceptionally low CO2 emissions that start from 139g/km (89hp engine) - a figure that comfortably undercuts existing London Taxi offerings.
Versions fitted with the 89hp engine feature a five-speed manual transmission, while 110hp variants benefit from a six-speed unit. Both powerplants are fully compliant with the latest EuroV emissions regulations.
Fuel consumption is another area where the Nissan NV200 London Taxi offers a significant improvement over existing Taxi designs. Thanks to a provisional combined consumption figure of 53.3mpg (89hp model), the NV200 could save professional drivers (covering an average of 22,000 miles a year) an estimated £663 a year* (see Running Costs and Environmental Advantages section for more information).
RUNNING COSTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL ADVANTAGES
- Highly efficient engines offer significant savings for operators
- Low CO2 emissions help in the drive to improve London air quality
- Development backed by London Mayor Boris Johnson
- Sales through approved Nissan 'specialist' dealer
The new Nissan NV200 London Taxi doesn't just raise the standards for passengers, it also makes business sense for owners and promises to have a significant impact on the CO2 emissions of London's taxi fleet.
The NV200 London Taxi will be sold through a designated Nissan 'specialist' dealer and will be competitively priced, significantly below the current London Taxi Company TX4.
More details and a pricing structure for options and features will be announced closer to the launch date.
With fuel costs accounting for an ever-increasing percentage of taxi running costs, the NV200's frugal 1.5-liter dCi engine will hold considerable appeal for cabbies. The most efficient London Taxi Company TX4 (2.5 manual) returns 35.2mpg on the combined cycle, compared to 53.3mpg for the NV200 (89hp model).
By switching to an NV200, a typical London Taxi driver covering 22,000 miles a year can expect to save £663 in fuel costs. If the entire London fleet switched to the NV200, the overall saving would amount to over £14.5m.
Being a Nissan, it comes as no surprise that the NV200 also puts forward a compelling environmental case. Its 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine emits just 139g/km of CO2 (89hp model) - considerably less than the 206g/km produced by the cleanest version of the current London Taxi Company TX4 (2.5 manual).
If all London's 22,000 licensed taxis were replaced by the NV200, there would be a CO2 reduction across the Capital of over 37,970 metric tons every year. In reality, the reduction would be even greater, as many of the taxis in service are considerably older and less efficient than the current model.
The CO2 reduction would be a huge boost to London's Air Quality Strategy - a framework of measures aimed at reducing harmful emissions and improving air quality for Londoners. Introduced by Mayor Boris Johnson, the strategy has already highlighted the issue of emissions from older taxis. Nissan has worked closely with the Mayor's office during the design and development stage of the NV200 London Taxi, and will continue to do so as the project reaches production.
*Calculations assume all London taxis are current TX4 model. Reality is large percentage will be older and less fuel efficient.
TX4: 233,600,000 taxi miles per year / 35.3mpg (TX4 Combined Cycle Economy) = 6,617,563 gallons
6,617,563 gallons x (143.6ppl * 4.55 = £6.53 av. cost per gallon diesel) = £43,212,686
NV200 London Taxi: 233,600,000 taxi miles per year / 53.3mpg (NV200 Combined Cycle Economy) = 4,382,739 gallons
4,382,739 gallons x (143.6ppl * 4.55 = £6.53 av. cost per gallon of diesel (Jan-Jun 2012)) = £28,619,285
Overall difference = £43,212,686 - £28,619,285 = £14,593,401 per year.
Individual drivers = £14,593,401 / 22,000 = £663 per year.
**On an average day, London's taxis will make just under 200,000 journeys, carrying just under 300,000 passengers (1.48 passengers per trip), travelling 3.2 miles per trip per taxi.
200,000 journeys x 3.2 miles per trip = 640,000 miles per day between 22,000 taxis (29 miles per taxi per day). 640,000 x 365 days = 233,600,000 taxi miles per year. 233,600,000miles = 375,942,758km
Assuming an average CO2 emissions figure of 240g/km for current taxi models - based on automatic transmission outputs - and 139g/km for the 1.5dCi NV200 5-speed manual, there would be an estimated annual reduction of 37,970 metric tons of CO2.
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