by Jim Holder 30 April 2013 2:59pm
Nissan will unveil its final design for a new London taxi in the next month, with the firm’s executive vice president Andy Palmer confirming he signed off the final production model this week.
The car will sit in the same platform as the New York taxi developed by Nissan, but has been substantially restyled to retain the hallmarks of the classic black cab. The design work has also been conducted with substantial input from current drivers.
It will initially be sold with a 1.5-litre diesel engine, but longer term Palmer hopes the fast-charging infrastructure in London will evolve to make electric versions of the car viable.
"Running costs for an electric vehicle are about a tenth of a diesel, so the business case is there, so long as charging times can be reduced," said Palmer.
Palmer conceeded the project is unlikely to make Nissan much profit, with just 20,000 London taxis in operation at the moment. However, in time he sees the project as invaluable for promoting electric cars.
"The best way to answer concerns about electric cars is to get people into them," said Palmer. "If you think of the millions who ride in black cabs each day, then you get a feel for what these vehicles could achieve in terms of changing perceptions."