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Auto blogMon, 06 Jan 2014 10:45:00 EST
In most cities, just about any vehicle can serve as a taxi - so long as it meets the owner/operator's requirements for reliability, comfort and utility. But certain cities have their own unique taxis, and Nissan has been working hard to corner those markets. It has already designed specific taxis for such locations as New York, Barcelona and Tokyo, but its latest effort will bring a new Hackney Carriage to the streets of London.
A year and a half ago, Nissan displayed its NV200 on the streets of London in traditional black livery. But this new design takes the customization for the British capital one step further. Working closely with the mayor's office and with cab drivers across the city, Nissan's European design center in the Paddington district has reskinned the NV200 specifically to serve as the new black cab in London. The new face features round headlights, a new grille, LED lighting and a restyled front bumper. The steering has also been reconfigured to meet the 25-foot turning circle requirements for Hackney Carriages, as the black cabs are known on the streets of London.
The result is a distinctly British take on the NV200 taxi - one that we're guessing won't go without its fair share of controversy. Nissan will begin offering the black cab at the end of the year with a 1.6-liter gasoline engine mated to an automatic transmission, a powertrain said to be cleaner than the diesels used in existing taxis. And Nissan should know, having supplied many of those 2.7-liter turbodiesels in the '80s and '90s. But if that's not clean enough, the Japanese automaker will also begin selling an electric version, the e-NV200, starting next year. Watch the video clip and read the full details in the press release below.
It's the hurdle that electric vehicles must clear to be launched into the mainstream: range anxiety. But this time it isn't prospective customers who worry about running out of juice, Bloomberg reports, but renters who return to car rental agencies before their lease is up and trade their EVs in for more traditional gasoline-powered autos and gas-electric hybrids.
"People are very keen to try [electric vehicles], but they will switch out of the contract part way through ... they think they can't get to a charging station," says Lee Broughton, head of sustainability at Enterprise. Enterprise customers who rent EVs reportedly trade them in 1.6 days into the rental period on average, which compares unfavorably to the six- to seven-day rental periods of traditional, fuel-burning automobiles.
Christopher Agnew, an analyst at MKM Holdings LLC, says that longer range would help rental customers' range anxiety, especially since they are usually renting vehicles in unfamiliar places.
With the launch of iOS 7 last week, those who carry around a certain fruit-branded cellphone got access to a new technology called iTunes Radio. Apple's delayed entry into a market currently dominated by service such as Spotify and Pandora, iTunes Radio allows users to create their own stations or to choose from a number of featured stations. From there, listeners can fine tune their results to deliver more popular songs or newer, deeper tracks. Each song is linked back to the iTunes store, allowing users to easily buy songs they fall in love with.
Now, Nissan has teamed with Apple as the exclusive launch partner for iTunes Radio. This partnership means you'll be seeing some Nissan-specific content when you're surfing through iTunes Radio, with some subtler stuff in the form of material and some not-so-subtle approaches, like Nissan's use of iAd, a system that allows developers to directly insert advertisements into apps. The focus at first will be on the upcoming Rogue, the redesigned Versa Note and the Leaf EV.
Nissan's vice president of marketing in North America, Jon Brancheau, explained the team up, saying, "We see iTunes Radio as an integral part of our new vehicle launches and 'big moments,' riding the wave of interest and usage of this exciting new service to maximize exposure of Nissan's new models." Take a look below for the rundown from Nissan.