Nissan Van Becomes Taxi. Is A Leaf Taxi Next?

After extensive testing, the Mexico-built Nissan NV200 emerged victorious as the vehicle of choice to replace aging taxi cabs in New York City. The Nissan van beat out the likes of the Ford Transit Connect and other vehicles for its passenger comfort, maneuverability, and fuel-efficiency.

As part of the program, Nissan also will work with the City and taxi owners on a pilot program to study the use of zero-emission, electric vehicles as taxis. The automaker will provide up to six 100-percent electric Nissan Leafs to taxi owners for testing in 2012 as well as the charging stations to support their use. According to Texas Nissan, the NV200 van could also get an electric powertrain at some point down the road.

Most NYC taxis operate out of a central garage, which would make it easy to keep track of vehicle charging. A 480-volt DC quick charge unit could also get a Nissan Leaf charged and ready for fares in as little as 30 minutes. And, since the average New York cabbie drives 100 miles a night, the Leaf’s 100 miles range should be up to the challenge.

According to Nissan Dealers Seattle, this type of rigorous driving will also be the ultimate test for Nissan’s ground-breaking electric powertrain. If a Leaf can handle the stop-and-go of navigating New York City, the vehicle will be up to the challenge of taking on suburbia.