New York taxi model begins electric trials

Nissan is set to begin global trials of an electric version of its NV200 minivan - the  vehicle which was recently selected as the official taxi of New York City.

This month, Japan's postal service will begin trials of an all-electric NV200 in Yokohama, in Japan's Kanagawa prefecture, ahead of other tests in Japan and Europe.

Nissan says that the trial will give it a chance to evaluate the van's performance under a customer's normal usage conditions and that it expects commercial electric vehicles based on the NV200 will contribute "to the development of a sustainable society."

As of 2013, the NV200 will be the official taxi of New York city, a considerable coup for the Japanese brand which will see its bright-yellow models carrying some 600,000 people around the Big Apple every day.

Although Nissan had agreed to supply up to six of its electric Leaf models to New York firms for testing under the terms of the agreement, no mention was made of an electric variant of the NV200.

A successful trial - and eventual production model - could see battery powered NV200s joining their gasoline counterparts on the streets of New York long before the agreement is due to expire, in 2023.

Doing so will bolster the Japanese brand's reputation as a leading electric vehicle maker even further, although it's already doing fairly well - in the first six months of this year, the electric Leaf outsold its closest competitor, the Chevrolet Volt, by over 1,100 units, according to Automotive News.

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