The New York Taxi and Limousine Commission has approved the Nissan Altima and Chevrolet Impala, which join the Ford Transit Connect, on the list of vehicles approved as interim taxi cabs for the Big Apple. According to USA Today, New York cab companies are permitted to purchase those models for fleet duty until the Nissan NV200 "Taxi of Tomorrow" goes on sale. The NV200 beat out competitive designs from Ford and the Turkish Karsan V1 to earn the taxi commission's nod, though the Nissan isn't set to be available until 2013 at the earliest.
In the meantime, cab companies are going to need vehicles to replace their aging fleets of Ford Crown Victoria sedans. That's where the new models come in. Once incorporated into cab company stables, they can remain until they retire, even past the 2013 arrival of the NV200. Once that date arrives, however, the Nissan Van will be the official vehicle of the New York taxi service.
Click past the break for an official press release from Nissan.
Nissan Americas today confirmed that, beginning immediately, the U.S.-built Nissan Altima has been approved for use in New York City's taxi cab fleet by the City's Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC). Currently, approximately 306 hybrid-electric (HEV) Nissan Altima units are in use as taxi cabs on New York City streets. In a rule-making meeting today, TLC officials extended approval to include the non-HEV version of Altima, a top-selling sedan in the United States.
The expanded approval for Altima in New York City's current taxi fleet is the latest TLC announcement involving Nissan. In May, Nissan was selected as the exclusive provider of the City's next-generation "Taxi of Tomorrow," beginning in 2013. Since Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the selection of Nissan's NV200, Nissan has collaborated with the City to confirm design specifications for the new taxi, and has begun preliminary vehicle engineering and production planning, as well as baseline safety testing, for a purpose-built vehicle that will be specifically tuned to the city's streets.
"We're excited about the expanded opportunity for New York taxi drivers and passengers to experience the Nissan Altima," said Joe Castelli, Nissan's vice president, Fleet & Commercial Vehicles. "We're proud that Nissan was selected to provide New York City's Taxi of Tomorrow and we're focused now on delivering the safest, most comfortable and most convenient taxi ever to travel the City's streets. While our work on that program is underway, we're pleased that Nissan can increase its presence in today's New York taxi fleet."
To date, Nissan has manufactured more than four million Nissan Altima units at its Canton, Miss., and Smyna, Tenn., vehicle assembly plants. The vehicle consistently ranks as a top-seller in its segment and the HEV version has been part of New York City's taxi fleet since 2009.
As part of the Taxi of Tomorrow 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. Nissan 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.
About Taxi of Tomorrow
In 2007, City officials convened a group of stakeholders, including representatives of taxi drivers, owner and passengers, to create a set of goals for the next New York City taxi cab, a project called the Taxi of Tomorrow. In December 2009, the TLC issued a "request for proposals," inviting auto manufacturers and designers to submit their best ideas for a purpose-built vehicle to serve as a New York City taxicab. At the end of the evaluation, the Nissan NV200 was selected and will be the next New York City taxicab for ten years, beginning in 2013.
About Nissan Americas
In the Americas, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and was recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency in 2010 and 2011. More information on Nissan in North America, the Nissan LEAF and zero emissions can be found at www.nissanusa.com.
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan's second largest Japanese automotive company by volume, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan and is an integral pillar of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 150,000 employees globally, Nissan provided customers with more than 4 million vehicles in 2010. With a strong commitment to developing exciting and innovative products for all, Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of fuel-efficient and low-emissions vehicles under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. A pioneer in zero-emission mobility, Nissan made history with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and winner of numerous international accolades including the prestigious 2011 European Car of the Year award.