Volkswagen is unveiling a new compact battery-powered taxi concept called the Milano at the Hanover Trade Show in Germany this week.
The styling draws heavily on the Space Up! Blue concept that debuted at the 2007 LA Auto Show. One big difference, however, is that VW designers have eliminated the rear door on the driver’s side so that passengers can only get in and out at the curb. The curb-side portal has likewise been expanded with a large forward-sliding door and the front passenger seat has given way to luggage space. The Milano Taxi concept also features a similar touch screen monitor setup to those already being used in some New York City cabs.
Like the production electric vehicles that Volkswagen will start building from 2013, the Milano Taxi uses lithium ion batteries. A 45 kilowatt-hour pack is mounted in the floor and provides a claimed 186-mile driving range on the EU driving cycle. The Milano Taxi is purely a concept at this point, but since it appears to be based on Volkswagen’s “New Small Family” of low- and zero-emissions vehicles, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the German automaker put a similar vehicle into production as an easy way to get more electric vehicles into the field a few years from now. High-res shots below, press release after the jump.