Volkswagen to Show Electric Milano Taxi Concept in Hanover

Staff - CAP staff
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With the Crown Victoria soon going the way of the dodo, it's time to rethink the taxicab.  In certain markets smaller more fuel-efficient cars and mini-MPVs have already started to take over, Toyota's Prius gaining a foothold in some North American cities and the Opel/Chevrolet Meriva becoming the mainstay in Europe, where the Mercedes E-Class has long ruled the roost, and South America, respectively. 

Volkswagen gets its share of commercial people moving business with its Sharan minivan and a few other models, but a dedicated commercial taxi might sway fleet managers to the German brand's side. 

Enter the Milano concept, a B-segment subcompact van that pulls a lot of design cues from the ultra-cool Space Up! Blue Concept that was introduced at the 2007 Los Angeles auto show.  Debuting this week at the Hanover Trade Show in Germany, the Milano shows what the cab of the future could be, a totally modern, thoroughly flexible, urban-cool, and totally green alternative to the cab status quo. 

First and foremost the Milano is electric, reducing airborne emission and most importantly replacing gasoline/diesel fuel budgets for a much smaller boost in the electric bill.  Volkswagen is committed to bringing electric production vehicles to market by 2013, so something like the Milano concept would be a good way to test its electric powertrains in the field under real-world conditions before going public.  The Milano, and all future VW electrics, makes use of a lithium-ion battery pack, this one a 45-kilowatt/hour unit allowing a 300-km (186-mile) range on the EU cycle. 

On another practical note, VW eliminates the usual roadside sliding door, as it's not needed for curbside entrance and exit, while the passenger-side slider has been expanded.  The front passenger seat is missing altogether, traded for luggage space.  What's more, the Milano Taxi gets a similar touchscreen interface that's in use by NYC cabbies. 

While the Milano Taxi is merely conceptual, something similar just might make the grade.  It appears based on VW's "New Small Family" category of low- and zero-emission vehicles, and therefore production might not be imminent.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Volkswagen, 2010, Milano Taxi Concept, Electric,

Organizations: Volkswagen

Geographic location: Hanover

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