Right about now, Nissan must be wishing it had a baked-in a shorter development time for its NV200 hybrid. Nissan started production on the taxi version of the NV200 about a year ago and has previously stated it will offer a hybrid version out by 2015.

But that's late enough that the Japanese automaker's foothold on future New York City taxi sales is looser than it otherwise would have been. Last week, New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission voted to allow cab drivers to buy their own hybrids as an alternative to the NV200 minivan cab, the New York Daily News reports. Two years ago, the gas-powered NV200 was named by the city government as NYC's "Taxi of Tomorrow" because of features including available features like a glass roof and on-board cell-phone rechargers, not to mention its roominess and relative fuel efficiency.

The city was set to start pushing for the taxi-fleet switchover in October but has faced legal opposition in recent months from the state's Supreme Court, which now says the city's mandate is unenforceable, in part because it doesn't offer fleet owners a hybrid alternative.