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Nissan refreshes Taxi for London design

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January 9, 2014

The Nissan Taxi for London goes on sale in December

The Nissan Taxi for London goes on sale in December

Image Gallery (8 images)

Nissan's vision for London’s famous black taxi cabs got a makeover this week as the company unveiled its latest Taxi for London design. Based on Nissan’s NV200 platform and redesigned by Nissan's European design center in Paddington, the updated black cabs not only sport a fresh look, they promise cleaner transport for the city, with the old diesel engines giving way to 1.6-liter petrol and all-electric drivetrains.

Squealing brakes and all, the classic London black taxi is one of the defining images of the capital. It’s gone through any number of changes from the days of horse-drawn growlers and Hansoms, up through the boxy Beardmores and Austins of today, but the Hackney Carriages, as they’re officially called, are as much a part of the fabric of London as the lions in Trafalgar Square and Big Ben tolling the hours.

Still, time does pass and technology marches on, so Nissan and others figured that it was time to update the black cabs and move away from the smelly diesel engines towards something a bit more environmentally friendly.

The headlamps and grille were designed to echo classic London cabs

The new face of Nissan’s Taxi for London is designed to be immediately recognizable as a cab, but how well it succeeds is open to question. Based on the company’s NV200 taxi as part of Nissan's global taxi program, it’s very boxy and at first glance it looks more like a van than a taxi. True, it does carry over some design cues from current London cabs, but this one won’t ever be mistaken for an Austin even in a bad light.

That being said, the new design does try to emulate a classic cab. Compared to the NV200, the bonnet is softer, the wings are more pronounced, and the round headlamps and remodeled grille are definite echoes of the traditional black cabs. There’s also a LED-lit taxi sign and newly designed front bumper panels.

This isn't Nissan's first go at redesigning the Hackney carriage. In August 2012, the company unveiled its first version, but after receiving feedback, Nissan handed the project over to Nissan Design Europe (NDE) in Paddington to produce a design for London produced in London.

The Nissan taxi for London includes an LED-lit taxi sign

"Having already overcome the unique technical challenges presented by the development of a new Hackney Carriage for London ahead of our launch of the vehicle in August 2012, we turned our attention to making the vehicle look the part,” says Design Excellence Manager at NDE, Darryl Scriven. “The Mayor's office and taxi drivers were very keen that we maintain the character of the Hackney Carriage, making it something that people in the city can be proud of."

Sketch of the Nisssan Taxi for London

The new taxi uses a 1.6-liter petrol engine equipped with an automatic gearbox, which will be cleaner than the current diesel engines. In addition, Nissan says that the taxi meets Transport for London (TfL) regulations, including being able to make the required 25-ft (7.6-m) turning circle, which was first introduced to allow cabs to drop off and pick up fares at the entrance of the Savoy hotel.

Nissan says that a production version of the Taxi for London will be available in December of this year and an electric taxi called the e-NV200 will be introduced in 2015.

The video below explains the design philosophy behind Nissan’s taxi for London.

Source: Nissan

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.   All articles by David Szondy
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8 Comments

hmmm

i fervently hope that this never makes it onto our roads

many automotive stylists seem determined to out-ugly their competitors

this particular exercise makes it to the top of that gruesome pile

jimmythearchitect
10th January, 2014 @ 01:57 am PST

It would be nice to think that it had a voice recognition sat-nav system, supported by on-board inertial positioning for the inevitable occasions when the high-rise buildings obscure the signal, which in my experience of driving around London always happens when you need it most. (Good old Lord Sod and his famous law.) It goes without saying that such a sat-nav system should be linked to traffic information so that it could take the quickest route in the current conditions and give an E.T.A. taking into account the effect taxi lanes would have on the journey.

@ in line with Jimmythearchitect's comment. I see no reason why they could not have plonked the existing body shell, onto the Nissan platform. O.K. there are numerous technical constraints and legal issues involved, but the London mayor regularly walks across the Thames on his way to work, so it should be no problem for him.

Mel Tisdale
10th January, 2014 @ 03:26 am PST

This is a mind bogglingly ugly van. It would be ideal for an undertakers body collection vehicle at most. London, NO!

Simon Gibson
10th January, 2014 @ 06:40 am PST

If London is going to be saddled with another van-based taxi, they should at least not pretend it is anything other with this hideous restyle. Reminds one of the conversion kits to turn a Nissan March (Micra in Europe) into a bizarrely proportioned Jaguar Mk2- truly a Frankenstienian abortion.

The Mercedes Vito based London taxi has not proved a success, because of the need to add active rear steering in order to make a panel van turn within the prescribed limits, and Mercedes haven't got their heads around how to make it work reliably. Nor for that matter have they bothered to sort out their age-old problem with rust- but then why have quality control when you can charge a premium for your products purely on the strength of the badge?

bergamot69
10th January, 2014 @ 01:59 pm PST

That design is not very refreshing...

Nibblonian
10th January, 2014 @ 02:24 pm PST

remember riding the old Hackneys for 2011 trip, why not just add newer engines to older models alone aside this update.

London has some tight streets that NV2K can maneuver in.

Install Nissan engines int the older cab fleets??

Stephen N Russell
10th January, 2014 @ 03:44 pm PST

Somehow I don't think those darkened windows will be allowed! It's no beauty but London taxis never were. You have to bear in mind that they are used for 20-30 years before being retired, so don't pander to modern styling ideas.

Misinformation: "from the smelly diesel engines towards something a bit more environmentally friendly."

Modern diesels in Europe are not smelly! All the major European car manufacturers make them and have for years. This is a myth that Americans love to perpetuate, like "warm beer."

GeoffG
12th January, 2014 @ 08:32 am PST

A couple of points based on other posts

1. The best engine ever used in a London Taxi was produced by NISSAN ! ( Up to the TX1) This was replaced by the disasterous Ford engine and lately just as bad, the VM engine . Every taxi driver would prefer a NISSAN engine but LTI would not pay NISSANs price .

2. London conditions of fitness dictate that a LONDON TAXI now can only be used for 15 YEARS | I`m very sure the new nissan will out perform, and out last the present "Thing" that we have to drive. I predict major success for the Nissan ,above all we now have a choice of vehicle . Its reliability or failure will determine its future ! The "Iconic" un reliable ,CHINESE vehicle has had its day !

PJCF
27th January, 2014 @ 02:34 am PST
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