Today, New York City announced the winner of its Taxi of the Future contest, and the winner is the minivan-esque vehicle pictured above, the Nissan NV 200, which was arguably the least fuel efficient choice out of three options, and will not really impact fuel consumption when replacing NYC’s current fleet of Ford Crown Victoria taxis.
Fuel efficient Taxis in NYC? Not in the future
The decision to adopt a fleet of new Nissan NVs is disappointing, for several reasons. First, because these vehicles aren’t even going to be phased in until 2013, and after that they will still last for roughly 5 years before having to be replaced. This, meaning that NYC taxis will still be running on fossil fuels in 2018 – far behind what any ‘city of the future’ should be aiming for.
Secondly, NYC taxis are iconic, and if the city had selected a fuel efficient option, like the Ford Transit Connect (runs on natural gas with an electric version coming out soon), which was also in the top 3, it would have sent a message to the world that cities can run on fuel efficient – if not electric – vehicles.
NYC’s history of Fuel Efficient Vehicles
There are already a number of hybrid vehicles being driven in New York City as taxis – however, the City has had a difficult time passing any laws that require taxi drivers to be fuel efficient. In fact, after trying to institute a law that would require fuel efficiency from taxi drivers, a group of taxi drivers sued the city on the basis that hybrid vehicles could not provide adequate service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Since then, there have been concessions made by both parties that have seen a significant portion of taxi drivers adopt cars that are more fuel efficient – approximately 33% of the fleet in total. Unfortunately, the adoption of a hybrid car as the official NYC Taxi of the Future would have resulted in a significantly higher percentage of the fleet going green.
Take a green stand when hailing a cab in NYC
If you’re in NYC and see a row of cabs, send a message and hop in the hybrid you see rather than the Nissan NV, and hopefully the next time the city has the chance to choose what vehicle they want as their official taxi of the future they will choose one that is eco friendly.