Nissan today suspended plans to launch a new London taxi before Christmas amid doubts triggered by proposals for an Ultra Low Emission Zone.
The car giant said the idea had also cast doubt over its development of an advanced green electric model.
Nissan had been poised to launch its petrol-powered cab in the capital in December — with a zero-emission, electric version to follow next year.
But it said finalisation of launch plans for the two cabs was impossible until it knew the outcome of the consultation, which closes in January.
The final ULEZ scheme order will not go before the Mayor for approval until spring. The zone would not come into effect until 2020 but rules governing the sale of new cabs would come in two years earlier.
Nissan fears regulations outlined in the consultation, requiring all new taxis registered in London to be zero-emission by 2018, mean its new petrol cab would be obsolete in three years. The NV200 has cost millions to develop.
It also said that until it knew the requirements for new cabs under the ULEZ, such as the range needed for an electric taxi and guidance on charging points, it would have to suspend development of its greener London cab.
Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, said: “I suspect the main reason Nissan are not proceeding with the project is that there is no proper infrastructure for charging electric vehicles in London. There’s not one rapid charger within six miles of Charing Cross, leaving London falling behind the rest of the world.”
A Nissan spokesman said: “Nissan is a strong supporter of air quality and CO2 reduction measures and is encouraged to see the recent consultation launched by the Mayor’s office.
“However if this were implemented then our planned petrol taxi, designed to meet the challenging London taxi standards, would be obsolete a few years after introduction”
Garrett Emmerson, Chief Operating Officer for Surface Transport at TfL, said: “Nissan are one of a number of manufacturers we’ve been working closely with to develop a zero emission capable taxi. We welcome their support for our proposals to introduce an Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London from 2020 and their continuing commitment to develop zero emission capable electric vehicles. We look forward to continuing to work closely with them in the future.”