Taxi of Tomorrow, meet the Taxi of the Future.
Confused? Time travel always does that.
Ford has unveiled the next generation of its Transit Connect-based taxi. The current version of the compact van has been plying its trade since 2010 and has become a common sight in cities across the country, including Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.
But the fleet in the Big Apple is set to begin dwindling in October when the winner of the city’s controversial Taxi of Tomorrow contract, the Nissan NV200, starts to enter service as the exclusive cab for the next decade.
Nissan beat Ford to get that gig, but the Blue Oval brand clearly isn’t ready to surrender the rest of its turf and is touting its new model as the Taxi of the Future in a clear dig at its people-hauling rival.
What the nickname brings with it is a vehicle that promises to be more refined and fuel efficient than the current Transit Connect, offer improved luggage and passenger space with room for up to five fares in two rows of rear seats, and is available with Ford-certified wheelchair access systems installed by third-party modifiers.
It can also be had with a factory-installed prep kit to facilitate the conversion of its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine to CNG/LPG operation, which many are touting as the automotive fuel of the future thanks to its domestic sourcing and low price compared to gasoline, less than $2.00 for the equivalent of a gallon in some states.
The Taxi of the Future hits the streets and taxi fleets in the very near future, early 2014.