Japanese carmaker Nissan has unveiled a new version of the iconic London black taxi cab.
Nissan says the NV200 London Taxi, based on its multi-purpose NV200 compact van – is up to 50 per cent more fuel-efficient than London's existing black cabs, and cuts carbon dioxide emissions in half, in line with London mayor Boris Johnson's plans to improve the capital's air quality.
Due to go on sale next year, the London version of NV200, which is essentially the same van-based vehicle announced last year as New York's next city taxi, is powered by a 1.5l diesel engine and seats up to five adults, said Nissan.
The engine could save the average London cab driver up to £1,000 a year in fuel costs, according to Nissan.
This is due to the model's 1.5 dCi 89 HP EuroV, 6-speed manual drivetrain, which Nissan says achieves 53.3mpg on a combined cycle, meaning almost 50 per cent fuel saving compared to the London Taxi Company's current TX4 with its combined cycle figure of 35.3mpg.
Transport for London estimates there are around 22,000 black cabs on London's streets, carrying 300,000 users daily.
"From what I've seen of the NV200 London Taxi, it ticks all the right boxes," said Steve McNamara, the general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association.
"It's important that it looks like a cab, is comfortable with good ingress and egress, and is reliable.
"If the fuel consumption figures are as promised, it will be a big seller."
The new vehicle will compete with the classic LTI taxi and a new Mercedes black cab.
Nissan, which expects the NV200 to receive full London Taxi certification later this year, said an all-electric version of the car would undergo trials in London next year.
Nissan previously supplied the diesel engine to the iconic 1989 FX4 Fairway taxi and its successor, the TX.
"The black cab is as much a part of the London landscape as Big Ben," Andy Palmer, Nissan's executive vice president said.
"The NV200 is a great step forward for providing a transport solution that is good for both its users and other city inhabitants."