We’ve been following the progress of New York City’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” since Mayor Bloomberg announced the competition for a new more eco-friendly cab back in December 2009. We were disappointed to learn that the new model, which will replace all of the current taxis, could potentially reduce the fleet’s overall fuel efficiency, but there is still good news to be had. One of the three finalists, the Turkish company Karsan, is promising to build its taxis at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Red Hook if its proposal is chosen. Not only would this reduce the carbon footprint of manufacturing the cars, but it would create up to 800 new jobs for the local community. The pledge makes the Karsan cab the only one that would be built in America.
The other two finalists, the Ford Transit Connect and the Nissan NV200, would be built in Turkey (ironically) and Japan, respectively. A Karsan advisor told the Brooklyn Paper that the company would bring engines from the Chrysler Michigan plant, the chassis from Turkey, and the rest of the parts would be “heavily American.” The assembly work of the vehicles would be done in partnership with the Axis Group, a company that already operates a non-manufacturing facility for imported cars at the terminal.
The Karsan model, which is the only wheelchair accessible proposal, is already the front runner of the competition, having nabbed the popular vote and approval from many politicians thanks to the wheelchair access. Karsan just unveiled a concept of the taxi model, but they have yet to release any detailed information about gas mileage. While it’s hard to say how efficient the vehicle will be without knowing how much fuel it uses, it’s encouraging that it would be built not just on American soil, but right here in NYC. Plus, it would no doubt be more eco-friendly than the current gas guzzling Crown Vics.