Ford’s latest taxis use diesel and hybrid powertrains

The taxi of tomorrow might be dead but Ford today announced two new models that combine forward-looking technology with proven body styles. For the first time, Ford is offering a hybrid powertrain in a taxi model that is said to get a 40 mpg in the city. This news comes several weeks after Ford’s bombshell that it was dramatically reducing the number of traditional cars it will sell in the North American market.

The Fusion Hybrid Taxi is Ford’s first hybrid taxi model and is said to be Ford’s most fuel-efficient taxis to date. In addition to the new powertrain, the model features additional bits that should make cabbies happy. The midsize sedan shares parts with the Ford Police Responder Hybrid such as a police-tuned suspension, higher ride and improved brakes. And steelies. Got to have steelies.

Ford also today announced the Transit Connect Taxi that rocks a 1.5-liter diesel engine and more room behind the second row than the competing Nissan NV200 Taxi.

Today’s announcement is important signaling to the automotive market. The Ford Crown Victoria once ruled the taxi market and there is still countless tapped for duty across the United States. Ford is clearly attempting to stay relevant in this market and is doing so through the use of non-traditional powertrains, though, I guess, an argument could be made that hybrid and diesel powertrains are now nearly traditional powertrains.