Behold: Taxis of tomorrow

Come 2014, New Yorkers may not recognize the cabs they’ve come to depend on.

Yesterday the city unveiled the three finalists’ designs for the “Taxi of Tomorrow” competition, submitted by Ford Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and Karsan Otomotiv Sanayi & Ticaret AS of Turkey.

“Each is promising, but none is perfect,” said Mayor Bloomberg, of the fiercely futuristic designs.

The winner of the competition will have an exclusive contract with New York City for the next decade, slated to replace the fleet’s 13,237 taxi cabs.

The designs were evaluated based on “comfort, durability, and performance,” said Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky, but the final decision will incorporate public input.

New Yorkers are invited to rate the features of the individual designs at www.taxioftomorrow.com. One voter will have the chance win free taxi trips for a year, up to $5,000.

Karsan’s V1 model features a skylight and a fully wheelchair accessible design, but the company does not have a “proven track record,” said Yassky. Ford, which has the most experience manufacturing for the city, submitted the Transit Connect.

Nissan built off the design for its NV200 van and featured the most spacious design. The vehicle also boasts the ability to become fully electric.

The competition comes after the discontinuation of Ford’s Stretch Crown Victoria, which runs at 18 miles per gallon. It’s the workhorse of the current fleet.

The winner of the competition will be announced in early 2011.


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