• Dec 15, 2010
Volkswagen London Taxi Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

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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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      That's a cool concept, missing some practical stuff but what do you expect from a concept.

      80% charge in one hour is impressive. But having a taxi shut down for an hour midday wouldn't be too practical.

      It'd be interesting to see them develop a quick change battery pack so the car can "refuel" without the wait for charging. This seems particularly important in a taxi.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What's up German fanbois? The same guys who bashed the Cube and Soul endlessly now think this one's cool. Teutonic snow job yet again.

      • 4 Years Ago
      looks pretty cool...but i'm still a fan of those old taxi cabs i see the movies...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Based on the photos, this can only carry two passengers. Real great taxi.
      • 4 Years Ago
      No retro styling.
      • 4 Years Ago
      A "London Taxi" with the driver on the wrong side????

      And how about a passenger door on the both sides to let riders out on either side of One-Way streets rather than expecting them to get out in traffic?

      Great concept, great size, great styling - but the practical details need more work.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree with the need for doors on both sides!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thats exactly what I was thinking.. London concept with the driver on the wrong side? Good research VW!

        It doesn't look that big either... how many people can it seat? not as many as ours currently I bet!
      • 4 Years Ago
      It is no so surpassing because it would be in the future.Volkswagen has brought most inspiration car design and it is brilliant.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Not a bad design. Whitewalls look sucky.
      • 4 Years Ago
      *its own unique spin. As in the possessive and not "it's," the contraction for "it is."

      You got it right two sentences later. The grammatical incongruity is baffling.
        • 4 Years Ago
        From a comment by you in October: "What does that mean to say they own the technology?" People in glass houses......

      • 4 Years Ago
      No. More LTI, please.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This beats the hell out of the new New Beetle.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Since when does Minimal front / rear overhang = plenty of room inside?

        Small overhangs actually = much higher damage to drivetrain / axle in case of crash.

        This looks good though...and I'd rather be driven in the VW than the China cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Luggage Pros Coupons
      its really great.
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