"When you first see it, the Standard Taxi cab looks like it was made from Kraft Velveeta cheese. The shape is primarily rectangular but the edges are rounded. There are a few steep angles as if someone with a large knife made them. Then you step inside . . .
Inside this taxicab companies' dream vehicle, it is a different story. There are some bedrooms in New York City that are not as big. There is plenty of space for 4 passengers (3 across seats + 1 rear-facing fold down seat) plus room for a wheelchair facing front or rear. This is a main design requirement for the taxi and rightly so. Think about your older relatives. Think about Iraqi vets. Think about yourself someday. The taxi driver has his/her own area off to the side - like a kitchen - fitted with all the latest features. This kitchen has an adjustable seat, GPS, computer access and a payment pass-through to the passenger section.
In the "mechanical room", the Standard Taxi has a proven GM 3.6 V-6 and a conventional driveline with a solid rear axle. Low operating cost is the reason. That is the same reason given for nearly all the features in the Standard Taxi. The Standard will be available as a gasoline, CNG, or LPG vehicle but it is not currently available in a diesel version, hybrid or electric vehicle.
The combination of the flat floor and a wheelchair ramp plus the rear wheel drive, means that the floor height is high as is the whole vehicle (79.4 inches). The height may be a problem in windy weather and sharp turns may send surprised passengers into intimate positions with each other.
The Standard Taxi is not designed for New York City exclusively. It is designed to be the taxi for the national market. In that sense, it is reminiscent of the famous Checker Cab of the 1950s and 60s, also an optimized taxi vehicle. I believe that the low first cost and low repair cost goals set for it have been met but I suspect a hybrid minivan with similar interior space and wheelchair features may be able to give the Standard a run for its money.
[Source: Standard Taxi]