Volkswagen's taxi concept gives a glimpse of the future

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Volkswagen has unveiled a new electric taxi concept in London today that it says gives a hint of the future of private hire vehicles.

The electric concept is based on the platform of the upcoming Up! city car, which is due to arrive next year.

Despite being shorter than VW's current smallest car, the Fox, the company claims it offers more cabin space than the Passat.



There are just two seats in the back, but there is a large luggage space where the front passenger seat would be. The side door is on a sliding rail for ease of access, but it slides forward rather than backwards. In a neat trick, sensors under the back seats switch the TAXI light to red when there are passengers on board.

There is limited space in the boot, but there are two lockable boxes for the driver's belongings. The Up! concept is not yet set for production, but VW says it may be made if demand is sufficient.



It is powered by a 113bhp Lithium Ion battery that VW says can be charged to 80 percent in an hour and fully charged in two hours. It should manage speeds of 74mph but should travel an impressive 186 miles between charges.

The interior also features an iPod-inspired touchscreen control panel that includes details on the journey and the fare.

The concept car is decorated with London coats of arms, but there are also versions for Hong Kong, Milan and Berlin.