Nissan isn't letting a judge stop its NV200 from becoming New York City's Taxi of Tomorrow. Not long after a New York judge ruled that the city allow taxi fleets to buy similarly sized hybrid vehicles, a Nissan exec told us that the automaker is working on an NV200 Hybrid taxicab specifically for New York City.
The Nissan NV200 may have been given a 10-year contract to be the exclusive taxi of New York City, but city code rules that the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) make at least one hybrid vehicle available for use as a taxi. With a 2.0-liter 135-hp gas-burning I-4 under the hood, the NV200 is most definitely not a hybrid. Although the TLC plans on holding a vote in the coming weeks allowing fleets to choose from either the NV200 or a similarly sized hybrid like the Ford C-Max or Toyota Prius, our source at Nissan tells us that the automaker has every intention of remaining the exclusive taxi provider of New York City.
To that effect, Nissan tells us that it plans on offering a hybrid version of the NV200 taxi in New York for the van's second model year, likely making it a 2015 model. The 2015 NV200 Hybrid's powertrain could come from a number of places, with the JDM Serena S-Hybrid van's hybrid powertrain the most likely choice. The Nissan Serena's hybrid setup is a mild-hybrid system, similar to GM's eAssist system, which uses the electric motor and a small battery pack to boost power and fuel economy, but the technology can't power the vehicle independent of the gasoline engine. The S-Hybrid system could conceivably fit under the hood of the NV200 and not require any expensive body modifications, though an all-electric e-NV200 could be on the way, as well.
Like the existing NV200, the NV200 Hybrid will be specially built to handle 24-hour duty cycles and trashed New York streets. The 2015 NV200 Hybrid will initially be sold exclusively to taxi fleets in New York City, though if consumer demand is high enough, a hybrid version of the commercial van is a possibility. The gas-powered Nissan NV200 cab will make its taxi debut at the end of this year.