Is The ULEZ The Final Nail In The Coffin For London's Taxi Trade.
Painted in the red with silver roof (or green with white roof) livery of the city's traditional cars for hire, the NV200 will hit the streets of one of the world's most crowded and cab-dependent cities in early 2015.
However, rather than the petrol-powered taxis currently flooding New York City, the Hong Kong taxis will run on a bi-fuel blend of gasoline and liquefied petroleum gas. The LPG standard is already common among taxis in Europe and Asia, and Nissan claims its implementation of the technology will reduce 80 percent of NOx emissions as compared to pure LPG vehicles.
Why wasn't this technology available for the London Taxi Market. To be honest, the vehicle would have still been obsolete by 2018 because TfL will only plate vehicles capable of zero emissions from 1st January 2018.
Some of the Hong Kong versions will also be fitted with wheelchair accessible ramps that fold out from the back, an announcement well received by the local association for the disabled. So-called "universal access" vans have an upward opening hatch rather than two cabinet style 60/40-split doors. The passenger seat bench is also mounted further towards the front.
During the first roll-out a fleet of 50 will hit the streets. It's not as big of a "get" as New York, as Nissan already has a significant share of Hong Kong's taxi market. The Cedric sedan taxi has already been in widespread use in Hong Kong since the 1970s. Its chief rival is the Toyota Crown.
NV200 taxis have also been in use across Japan, and Nissan has received interest from a number of US cities. There was even a black cab version proposed for London.
Unfortunately Nissan decided to drop the London version.