The new year will see a new model of taxi in Britain’s capital.
Japanese company Nissan is adding London to its presence in New York, Barcelona and Tokyo.
The vehicle it unveiled this week is – like those in the other cities – based on the Nissan NV200 small van. But after consultation with the Mayor of London and some of the city’s taxi drivers, it has a redesigned front end.
The shape, with a large radiator grill and round headlights, is intended to make it look more like London’s iconic black cabs which have changed little in appearance since the late 1950s.
Nissan’s offering will hit the roads at the end of the year competing with the London Taxi Company (LTC), which is owned by Chinese carmaker Geely, and the Mercedes Vito taxi.
Unlike those it has a petrol rather than a diesel engine, which is less polluting. Nissan also plans an electric version in the future.
Transport for London said there were almost 23,000 black taxis licensed to operate in the capital at the beginning of January. LTC dominates while the Mercedes Vito cabs accounted for 2,177.
Steve McNamara, the general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, said the new taxi would be welcomed by the industry because it would be cleaner than the traditional diesel cabs.
There are also rumours that the Nissan vehicle will be cheaper than its competitors.