The taxi business is about to get more competitive as Ford prepares to introduce two new taxis: the new 2019 Transit Connect Taxi with a diesel engine and the 2019 Fusion Hybrid Taxi.
“Taxi operators want vehicles that are reliable, efficient and comfortable,” said Imran Jalal, brand and communications manager for Ford fleet marketing.
“Transit Connect Taxi and Fusion Hybrid Taxi offer all three with special attention to potentially help lower fuel costs. Plus, Fusion Hybrid underscores our commitment to introduce even more efficient and capable hybrids in the future.”
The announcement comes on the heels of an announcement by New York City, the nation’s largest taxi market that it will no longer call on the owners of taxi medallions to us the Nissan NV200 as the taxi of choice.
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In 2011, then New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg awarded Nissan an exclusive 10-year contract worth an estimated $1 billion, based on pushing owners of more than 12,000 taxi medallions eventually purchase an NV200, which was billed as the taxi of tomorrow.
The contract is expected to remain in effect, though its ultimate value will be far less given that cab owners are no longer locked into the Nissan, according to The New York Times. Owners of taxis will now have the option of selecting other models.
In addition, since the signing of the original contract with Nissan, Uber and Lyft have undercut the taxi business in New York City by attracting a larger share of passengers needing a short ride.
Ford said Transit Connect Taxi offers seating for five with a roomy, flexible interior well-suited for livery service. It features more than 60 cubic-feet cargo volume behind the second row, more than the Nissan NV200 Taxi.
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Standard dual sliding side doors provide riders with a wide entrance and exit. A low vehicle floor ensures easy step-ups and step-downs. The new taxi can be made wheelchair accessible through the Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier program. The modification features an easy-to-deploy ramp that doubles as a deck for cargo when stowed in the back.
When equipped with available 1.5-liter EcoBlue diesel engine, Transit Connect Taxi is expected to return an EPA-estimated Highway rating of at least 30 mpg. The final EPA-estimated ratings will be available early 2019.
Along with the newly available EcoBlue diesel engine, the new 2019 Transit Connect Taxi comes with a recessed second-row seat, a taxi upfit wiring harness, first-row side curtain airbags, optional roof access hole for signage and a reverse sensing system. It is also available with School Bus Yellow paint.
The first-ever Fusion Hybrid Taxi shares parts with the Ford Police Responder Hybrid for improved durability in a livery duty cycle (police vehicles come with many heavy-duty chassis parts, like wheels and suspension).
For Fusion Hybrid Taxi, Ford is projecting EPA-estimated ranges comparable to that of the Ford Police Responder Hybrid (projected EPA-estimated ratings of 40 mpg City/36 mpg Highway/38 mpg Combined). Actual mileage will vary.
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The 2019 Transit Connect Taxi and 2019 Fusion Hybrid Taxi can be ordered now. The 1.5-liter diesel on 2019 Transit Connect will be available to order soon and both versions of the Ford taxi models go on sale by year-end.