Stymied by an NYC Administrative Code, Nissan’s Taxi of Tomorrow May Never Hit the Streets

The Greater New York Taxi Association recently filed suit against Nissan’s 10-year, approximately $1-billion contract to manufacture all of New York City’s 13,000 yellow cabs. Due to a “little-known section of the city’s administrative code” requiring that the city “shall approve one or more hybrid electric vehicle models for use as a taxicab,” writes the New York Times, the fabled, non-hybrid Taxi of Tomorrow may never make its street debut.

The plan was for the fuel efficient Nissan NV200 to roll out late 2013 and replace the beloved but anachronistic Ford Crown Victoria (last produced in 2011, R.I.P.). Since first stepping inside the souped-up new model last April at the New York Auto Show, we’ve been looking forward to the total eradication of all our late-night taxi-riding worries — lack of climate control, limited privacy between us and the driver, the questionable personal hygiene of the previous passenger. If the Nissan mandate were to go through, however, it would illegally remove existing hybrid vehicles from the road.

Other Bloomberg proposals that would benefit New York’s taxi-obsessed culture have failed to leave the starting block. For instance, talks of a smartphone app that would hail taxis in advance have been a bone of contention for black livery cabs and is likely to result in another suit. “The taxi industry has now replaced social policy as the area where there’s the most court activity,” said Mitchell Moss, the director of New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, according to the Times. “That litigation is now a part of taxi policy tells you how central this is to New York.” God forbid New Yorkers would ever have to take the train. [New York Times, Wall Street Journal]

— Janelle Zara