A minivan cab produced by Nissan has been chosen as the "Taxi of Tomorrow" that will eventually replace the aging Crown Victoria as the city's standard taxi.
City Hall announced Tuesday that Nissan's design had beat the other two finalists, proposals by Ford Motor Co. and Karsan USA.
The new model boasts passenger airbags -- a first for New York City cabs -- and has lights that alert motorists and others that a taxi door is about to open. The cab will also have USB ports for charging smartphones and computers, and will have interior floor lighting.
The fleet of 13,200 taxis is made up of 16 vehicle models from nine different manufacturers. Ford's Crown Victoria anchors the fleet, but it was recently discontinued.
Nissan wins the right to exclusively provide the standard taxicab for 10 years. Officials expect the vehicle to be on the road by the fall of 2014.
Although the city was not legally allowed to make its decision based on fuel efficiency, Nissan's vehicles would roughly double fuel efficiency from the Crown Victoria's 12 to 13 miles per gallon, the mayor said. .
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio called for an investigation into the selection process, saying that a consultant hired by the city to help evaluate automakers' proposals had previously worked for Nissan and for Ford. The mayor denied there was any conflict of interest.