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Electric Nissan Leaf donated to New York City taxi fleet

Nissan has put six of its electric Leaf

Nissan has put six of its electric Leaf vehicles into service as New York City taxis. (April 22, 2013) (Credit: Nissan)

Automakers are taking every opportunity Monday to tout their most fuel-efficient vehicles in honor of Earth Day, drumming up news involving electric and hybrid cars and miles per gallon. But one such piece of news might be of genuine interest to local car enthusiasts and green thumbs alike.

Nissan announced it would put six of its electric Leaf vehicles into service as New York City taxis. The Japan-based automaker said it was part of an effort to better understand how zero emission technology can be broadened beyond consumer automobiles.

The deal was undoubtedly eased by Nissan’s existing relationship with the city: In 2011, the city selected its NV200 as the Taxi of Tomorrow. Those are to hit city streets in about six months. (See an image of the vehicle at right.)

“Nissan’s proven track record with electric vehicles will put us ahead of the curve in helping us answer important questions about incorporating electric taxis into the fleet so that we can achieve the goal of a one-third electric taxi fleet by 2020," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.

Visitors and residents will have no trouble spotting the electric taxis -- images released by Nissan show an exterior that eschews the traditional yellow and black paint for a predominantly silver color with yellow trimming. Hopefully, that doesn't keep them from being identified as cabs.

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