Supreme Court Judge Swats Down NYC's "Taxi of Tomorrow" Nissan NV200 Deal

By Jacob Brown | May 24, 2013
First, it was Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ban on large-size sugary beverages. Now it's his taxicab. In yet another display of judicial oversight, a state Supreme Court judge has struck down Bloomberg's proposed "Taxi of Tomorrow" plan that would have given a nearly exclusive contract to Nissan to supply 13,000 NV200 minivans for duty in the Big Apple. Alas, Justice Peter H. Moulton said it wasn't the 2014 Nissan NV200 itself that's optimized for taxi duty that's holding up the Bloomberg's ambitions; it's New York City's legislation. According to city code, the city "shall approve one or more hybrid electric vehicle models for use" and the models "shall be eligible for immediate use" by all taxicab medallion owners.
The Nissan NV200 will have a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in the U.S., rated at 131 horsepower and it'll be rated at a combined 24 mpg. But it won't have a hybrid powertrain available in the models available immediately, if ever. And that's a problem. David Yassky, the city's taxicab commissioner said that he does not anticipate that this will delay the start of the NV200 program, and taxi company owners will be allowed to purchase hybrids as long as they're the same size. That should include vehicles like the Toyota Prius V, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, and, um, well, that's about it. Midsize hybrid sedans don't quite have the cargo-hauling capabilities of a small van. Those cars each cost around $30,000 for starters and quickly go up from there without any conversions for taxi duties. Medallion owners say this is an intentional wrench in their figurative cogs, as hybrid sedans are generally a good bit cheaper. Without having even gone on sale yet, the 2014 Nissan NV200 has already caused its fair share of controversy. The models we're getting will be built in Mexico and are marginally larger than the overseas editions. They've been optimized to compete against the Ford Transit Connect, and even Chevrolet is getting in on the action with its own version called the City Express, set for the 2015 model year. Source: New York Times

At Yellow Cab in Seattle, we have about 250 Toyota Prius in our fleet-----they work fantastically well, carry ample baggage, and are large enough for most Americans.   Why NYC would go through the hoops to find something better is beyond us---the marketplace has affirmed their use as taxicabs.  We get upwards of 400,000 miles per vehicle, batteries are nowhere near the problem we thought they might cause.  Fuel savings more than covers cost of vehicle, including total life-cycle and higher insurance costs.  The City of New York needs to let the operators of the taxicab industry operate the industry;  if Mayor Bloomberg wants to take a Nissan taxi, he can flag one down, not dictate that preference to an entire, privately-owned, taxi-cab fleet.  No one ever dictated to Bloomberg News what kind of terminal to use.....