European taxi companies are shifting to Nissan Leaf

Article by Anita Panait, on May 29, 2013

More and more taxi companies across Europe are shifting from diesel-powered cabs to zero-emission Nissan LEAF taxis. Taxi companies are not the only ones who are starting to prefer these electric vehicles, but taxi drivers as well. The reason is simple but true – Nissan LEAF taxis boast of lower running costs and fulfill their dream of lower airborne pollution in cities.

Two years after its launch in Europe, Nissan LEAF taxis could now be seen plying the roads of Germany, Holland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In fact, Amsterdam-based Taxi-E has become one of the strongest supporters of Nissan LEAF taxis.

Taxi-E currently owns a fleet of 13 Nissan LEAFs, all of which combined have covered over 700,000 kilometers. The company quick-charges the units two or three times a day using 100 percent green energy, making them always ready to ferry in and out passengers.

Ruud Zandvliet, one of the people behind Taxi-E, noted that Amsterdam has around 3,000 taxis, which means that while the company’s fleet is helping cut emissions, there is “obviously” room to reduce them further. Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland, will soon see some Nissan LEAF taxis taking passengers around the area.

This is because later this year, 10 Nissan LEAFs will ply on Zurich’s streets supported by a network of city-wide fast chargers, as part of the city's bid to have electric cabs account for 15 percent of its taxi fleet by 2015. The Nissan LEAF has proven to be popular with European taxi owner-drivers, who consider running costs, fuel bills and maintenance down time as critical to their success.

Standing at 1550 mm tall, 4445 mm long, 1770 mm wide and with a wheelbase of 2700 mm, the new Nissan LEAF is built on a bespoke EV platform with a distinctive shape and highly aerodynamic features. It comes with a slightly modified grille, the only distinct difference from the older version, and a new 17-inch wheel design – both of which have contributed to its Cd reduction to only 0.28.

New LEAF retains the slim yet “almost vertical” headlights with LED lighting framing the front and functions in a way that it helps improve aerodynamics and reduce wind noise by redirecting airflow away from the door mirrors.

With the “smart fluidity” principle in mind, the body was designed with a kicked-up roofline that seamlessly blends into its large spoiler while its flat and smooth underfloor helps with its “wind cheating” shape. Out back are thin, gently curved, vertical taillights, and of course, there’s the absence of the exhaust pipe.

There are now seven exterior colors to choose from, ranging from solid white, gray, red pearl metallic and black metallic to metallic silver, white pearl and blue pearl metallic.

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