The citizens of New York have spoken, and their choice for the next New York City taxi is the Karsan V1. Hardly a favorite going into the competition, the underdog from Turkey scored points for comfort, handicapped accessibility and its panoramic glass roof. Designed to accommodate gasoline, compressed natural gas or electric propulsion, the Karsan’s modular design should make it easier to service than non-purpose built vehicles. Karsan manufactures commercial vans and busses in Turkey, so they know a thing or two about building rugged vehicles that are easy to service. Want to see some highlights of the Karsan V1? Hit the video below.
Sixty six percent of respondents favored the Karsan over designs from Nissan and Ford. That’s not to say that Karsan automatically has the business, since the final award is entirely up to New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, and I can’t imagine that Ford (who’s owned the NYC taxi business for years) will go down without a fight. Should Karsan get the award, the plan is to build the V1’s in Turkey, using a high percentage of U.S. parts. Engines, for example, will be supplied by Chrysler or General Motors; should their U.S. business expand, the company is willing to consider domestic production with a partner company. That’s still a ways off, and entirely dependent upon winning the New York taxi business.
I’ve always been one to cheer for the underdog, so I hope Karsan gets the award. Their design is the most innovative, and it’s clearly won over the hearts of New Yorkers. As someone who spent the better part of his life living in the NYC area, I can tell you that’s an impressive achievement on its own.