Nissan will provide New York City's taxicabs for the foreseeable, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced.
The Japanese automaker will provide 26,000 taxis in the form of yellow NV200 minivans for 10 years, beginning in 2013. The deal is estimated at $1 billion.
Nissan will begin producing taxis with electric-only engines in 2017. Testing for this will be on Nissan Leafs, six of them, that Nissan will provide to the city for free.
One innovative feature in the new taxis will be a transparent roof panel that allows panoramic views of the night sky and/or lights. Other features:
• lighting both overhead and in the floor, for ease of reading or finding belongings
• a mobile charging station for USB and 12-volt devices
• antimicrobial faux-leather seat fabrics
• independently controlled passenger-focused air conditioning units
• airbags for front, rear, and sides
• exterior lights that alert other drivers that taxi doors are opening.
Nissan will build the taxis at a plant in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
Other final contenders in the NYC taxi sweepstakes were Ford and Karsan Otomotiv, from Turkey.