New York's State Supreme Court just put the brakes on the Taxi of Tomorrow, ruling that the Taxi and Limousine Commission doesn't have the power to make Nissan's NV200 the universal yellow cab. But how could NYC riders have benefited from it?
Unlike the current fleet of consumer cars converted for taxi duty, the Nissan NV200 was designed specifically to be a NYC cab. It boasts large sliding doors for easy entry, a flat rear floor and a roomier back seat than the ubiquitous Ford Crown Victoria. It's equipped with USB charging ports, passenger-controlled air conditioning and a glass panorama roof, and Nissan says the antimicrobial upholstery cuts down on offensive odours. It even offers airbag protection for rear seat passengers, and Nissan says it's the only vehicle safety tested with the driver partition in place -- unlike taxis built from existing passenger cars, where safety features aren't designed to interact with add-on partitions.
Visions of futuristic cities often include revolutionary changes to how we get around. Nissan's offering isn't quite an earthshaking change -- it's still powered solely by gasoline, no hybrid or electric motivation -- but its new styling and passenger convenience put it far ahead of NYC's current fleet, largely made up of Crown Victorias that Ford stopped producing back in 2011. The State Supreme Court's decision means that, while we'll doubtless start to see the NV200 out in the wild, it won't be the universal taxi Mayor Bloomberg envisioned. [WNYC]