In May 2011, Japan’s Nissan Motor Company was awarded the rights to manufacture a line of new generation yellow taxis for New York City, with the aim of replacing the myriad varieties of cabs on the city’s streets with one uniform design by 2020. Dubbed the “Taxi of Tomorrow” by the contest organisers, Nissan’s car was to become a major part of New York City life, and naturally came as a boon to the Japanese company.
Sadly, the project has stalled following a number of legal disputes and issues over accessibility, but Nissan is nevertheless exceptionally proud of its modern take on the classic yellow cab, and recently exhibited it for all to see in a temporary showroom in Tokyo’s trendy Ginza shopping district.
JapanCulture•NYC, a website dedicated entirely to Japanese culture in the Big Apple, recently paid a visit to our fair city of Tokyo and was surprised to see the Nissan NV200 – the very cabs that were designed for their own streets – on display, not to mention pulling in the crowds.
Check out the video they shot here.
The shapely yellow cabs were due to begin rolling out across the city this year, but in mid October the Manhattan Supreme State Court put the brakes on the project, ruling that the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission was operating beyond its authority in requiring all taxi operators to use this one type of vehicle. Others argued that Nissan’s design had many flaws, pointing to its lack of a hybrid engine and the fact that it was not fully wheelchair accessible. If the Japanese auto giant is to provide the entire city with identical vehicles, they should all come fitted with the same features and be accessible to anyone, it was argued, although Nissan had in fact met the established criteria when submitting its design, leading some to question why the contract should be granted only to be blocked years later.
However, seemingly undeterred, Nissan has updated its original design for the Taxi of Tomorrow, and is forging ahead despite this early – and costly, with an estimated US$50 million having been spent on the project so far – setback. As well as adding in a wheelchair ramp to make the vehicle more accessible, the company is also believed to be working on not just a hybrid by a fully electric version of the car, which will no doubt please New York’s greener thinkers.
▼ It may be Japanese, but Nissan’s design is unmistakably NYC
▼ Plenty of room inside!
▼ The cab is fitted with a display and even USB ports for charging mobile devices.
We at RocketNews24 are definitely with JapanCulture•NYC in hoping that Nissan’s fleet of shiny yellow taxis makes it onto the streets of New York in the near future. Heck, we wouldn’t mind if a few of these things were rolled out here in Tokyo!
Images/video published with permission of JapanCulture•NYC