A brand new taxi for London

Posted on January 9th, 2014 by James Luckhurst

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 05.28.15A brand new black cab designed specifically for use in London has been unveiled by car maker Nissan. The firm says the 1.6 litre petrol-engine taxi will be cleaner than the current diesel cabs which are used in the capital.  The taxi was first unveiled in August 2012 but following feedback from the Mayor of London’s office the vehicle was taken back for modification.

Round headlamps and a re-modelled grille are key features of the new taxi, which goes on sale next December.  The car has been developed by the company’s European design centre, NDE,  in Paddington, west London.  Design Manager at NDE, Darryl Scriven, said: “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. 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.

“The main challenges were concerned with making sure customers can easily recognise it as a taxi. Being in London, we were able to go out and talk to cabbies about what was important to them as well as look at the vehicle from a customer’s viewpoint. It’s unusual for us to be able to work on something as bespoke as this, specifically for one location in the world and we are very proud to have been asked to do so.”

Nissan says the latest version adheres to Transport for London (TfL) regulations on black cabs which include a requirement for a 25ft (7.6m) turning circle.  TfL licenses black cabs in London, which are traditionally known as Hackney Carriages.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) welcomed the new vehicle and said it would bring more competition to the market.  “There are three vehicles and all are different, the traditional TX4 which has been around for forever and then there’s the Mercedes which is much larger and often used by people going to airports,” said Steve McNamara, general secretary of the LTDA.

The vehicle has LED lighting to make the taxi sign more visible. Nissan says that the car will emit lower levels of nitrogen oxide compared to traditional diesel models.  Following consultations with TfL, LED lighting was added to improve visibility of the traditional taxi sign and the vehicle was given new front bumper panels, Nissan said.  The grille was also remodelled to mirror the traditional front of a black cab.  Nissan will also launch an electric version of the taxi in 2015.