The NV200 taxicab, designed by Franklin, Tenn.-based Nissan North America, has been chosen as the winner of New York’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” competition. The city now will enter into final negotiations with Nissan to make the NV200 the first taxicab specially built for use in the Big Apple and the city’s first exclusive taxicab in a decade.

The goal of the two-year-long Taxi of Tomorrow procurement process was to encourage the production of a taxicab that would offer passengers and drivers a safe, comfortable ride with never-before-available amenities, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “The new taxis will be custom-designed to meet the specific demands of carrying 600,000 passengers a day in New York City traffic, and the vehicle meets the top priorities identified by the public in our online survey,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

The NV200 received high scores in the top categories identified as taxi priorities by nearly 23,000 people surveyed. It will be the first cab with passenger airbags and the first to complete U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash testing with the taxi partition and taxi equipment installed, according to Bloomberg’s office. The vehicle also features more passenger room; a transparent roof; charging stations for mobile devices; a high fuel efficiency rating; and built-in GPS navigation.

The city’s last official taxi was the Checker Cab, Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky said. “For the first time, we’ll have a taxicab that wasn’t ‘off the rack,’ but rather custom-tailored to create the best fit for the drivers, owners and passengers of our city,” Yassky said in a statement. “This is the heir apparent to the Checker, and people are going to fall in love with this taxi once they ride in it. It is going to represent New York City well.”

The first NV200 cabs are expected to be introduced into service in late 2013. As part of the regular phase out of taxis, the current fleet on the road will be retired out of service within three to five years and replaced by the NV200. Also, an all-electric version of the NV200 is planned for 2017. Meanwhile, the city plans to test the use of all-electric powered taxis starting in 2012 with six fully electric Nissan Leafs — provided to the city free of charge. If the pilot proves successful, the city will explore the possibility of wider use of electric taxis.

Read more about the city’s choice of the NV200, and watch the video.

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