Since the Nissan NV200 was announced as New York City's Taxi of Tomorrow, there have been numerous internal and external challenges to the compact van's virtual monopoly as the basis of the city's future taxi cabs, The New York Times reports. The latest roadblock for the Mexican-built van is an overlooked part of the city's administrative code that requires for the provision of a hybrid option for operators that so choose.
The NV200 is offered with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine mated to a CVT transmission. CNG and LNG (propane) versions will reportedly be offered, and Nissan has an electric-powered NV200 in the works that may also be offered for taxi duty. It's unknown whether these alt-fuel options will satisfy the "hybrid" provision in the city code. Eligible hybrid models would have to be around the same size as the NV200.
The hybrid model closest to the NV200 in size (if not exact configuration) is the Prius V, which is already in use in many municipalities as a taxi. However, the Prius V does not have the same disabled accessibility provisions as the NV. The 2014 Ford Transit Connect, another model that was a contender for the Taxi of Tomorrow, is also not currently offered with a hybrid option, but Ford's nearly decade-long experience building and selling hybrids in the form of the Escape compact SUV and Fusion midsize sedan, many of which have held up well in taxi duty, could give Dearborn an opportunity to cash in on the niche market if it could come up with a hybrid version quickly enough.
Source: The New York Times