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German Take on English Tradition: Volkswagen's All-Electric London Taxi Concept

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German Take on English Tradition: Volkswagen's All-Electric London Taxi Concept



Over the decades, the London Taxi has become a British icon, just like the double-decker bus or the red telephone booth. However, this might change in the future, as stricter emissions regulations could threaten the aging diesel cabs. Volkswagen’s EV Taxi Concept, which is based on the forthcoming Up! supermini, could offer a solution to this problem, should it ever make it into production.

Motivated by a 115 hp (86 kW) electric motor that draws energy from a set of lithium-ion batteries, the Taxi Concept can reach a top speed of 74 mph (121 km/h) and has driving range of 186 miles (300 km). According to the German automaker, an 80 per cent charge of the batteries takes approximately one hour to complete.

It’s clear that, performance-wise, the EV is more than suited for taxi duty, but Volkswagen didn’t stop there. Designing a body with minimal overhangs, the automaker was able to create a roomy cabin, albeit for only two passengers at the back along with their luggage. Still, that’s pretty impressive if we take into consideration that the concept measures just 3.7 meters (146 inches) in length.

The cabin has a simple, clutter-free design with the most important functions, such as fare information, climate control and entertainment, controlled through a touchscreen display mounted next to the driver. A second display provides information for the passengers.

The Taxi Concept doesn’t fulfill current London taxi regulations, but it does offer an insight into future possibilities, which, in our opinion, are worth considering.

By Csaba Daradics



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Volkswagen crafts a London Black Taxi for the future

by Jeff Glucker (RSS feed) on Dec 15th 2010 at 7:01PM


Volkswagen is putting it's own unique spin on a London icon. The VW London Taxi Concept, which is built upon the Up! city car platform, is an electric cab with an estimated range of 186 miles. Though the overall length of 3,730 millimeters means the Taxi concept is shorter than a VW Fox, its minimal front and rear overhang allow for plenty of room to accommodate the driver and two full-size adult passengers plus luggage. Inside, the Volkswagen London Taxi Concept features touchscreen displays that provide information on the surrounding area and the route being traveled.

Since this is just a concept, it doesn't conform to current London taxi regulations. However, it does provide a glimpse at what the future might hold for emission-free urban transportation choices.

[source: Volkswagen]

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A conceptual twist on a British institution has been unveiled in the form of the Volkswagen Taxi Concept – the latest evolution in a series of 'World Taxis' based on the underpinnings of the forthcoming UP! city car.

The man behind the project, Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design at Volkswagen, was present in Central London earlier today to unveil the car.

Designed to meet the challenges faced by vehicles in modern cities, with ever tighter restrictions on space and emissions, the Volkswagen Taxi Concept is powered by an electric motor fed by lithium-ion batteries. With a capacity of 45 kW/h the batteries allow the electric motor to generate a maximum power output of 115 PS, translating to a theoretical top speed of 74 mph.

The range of the Volkswagen Taxi Concept is estimated at 186 miles between charges with an 80 per cent charge taking around one hour to complete.

The Concept, which measures 3,730 mm in length, 1,680 mm in width and 1,600 mm in height, is shorter than the current smallest Volkswagen, the Fox. However its long wheelbase and minimal front and rear overhangs allow it to have a spacious cabin with room for two adults to be seated in comfort plus an allocated area for luggage. At the front, the driving environment is similarly spacious, an impression emphasised by the large glass area.

The theme running throughout the vehicle is simplicity, with an elegant, clutter-free look to the interior. The major functions of the vehicle including climate, entertainment and fare information are all grouped onto one touchscreen display mounted next to the driver. In the back a similar screen relays information to the passengers on their route and their immediate environment. Despite its modest size, the Volkswagen Taxi Concept feels luxurious, with use of cream leather and individual, as opposed to bench, seats.

The styling draws on that of the UP!, Space UP! and Space UP! Blue concept cars and features deliberately tongue-in-cheek details such as the silver Union Jack on the roof and the City of London's coat of arms resplendent on either side of the vehicle as well as on the dashboard.

Elegant daytime running lights mounted within the headlight units are joined by a distinctive 'Taxi' light on the roof. This has two settings – it glows green, indicating when it's free and red when it's not.

At the rear the light units are integrated into the 60:40 split tailgate, behind which are a pair of cubbies to house the belongings of the driver.

While the concept doesn't adhere to current legal requirements regulating taxis in London it does offer an insight into the possibility of a future small, efficient taxi that offers an alternative to conventional fuels.



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