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VW's take on classic London cab

2010-12-15 12:39

TAXI OF THE FUTURE: Volkswagen's idea of the taxi of the future is compact and efficient.

While not exactly the minibus taxi South Africans are accustomed to, VW has released details of its take on the humble London taxi, based on its forthcoming Up! city car.

The Volkswagen Taxi Concept was, according to the automaker, designed to meet the challenges facing vehicles in modern cities where restrictions on space and emissions are increasingly enforced.

The concept is powered by an electric motor fed by lithium-ion batteries, generating a maximum output of 86kW. Its top speed is 120km/h and it can cover about 300km before a charge is required, VW said.

This Up! concept remains compact (its overall length is a minute 3.7m) but its relatively long wheelbase and short overhangs allow for an interior that can hold two passengers and their luggage.

Very neat, though, is the grouping of important functions, such as climate control, entertainment and fare information onto a single touchscreen for the driver’s convenience. A similar arrangement is provided for passengers, relaying their route information.

Another useful touch is the Taxi sign on the car's roof that glows green when the cab is free and red when occupied.

Volkswagen concedes that the concept does not comply with the current legal requirements regulating taxis in London, but sees it as a way to explore the possibility of a small, efficient taxi.

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