Nowadays people travel a lot. Most of the further journeys are made by planes or ships. This means that ever so often we find ourselves using services of local taxis. We may not think about it, but they really shape the image of the city.
Black cab of London became iconic and a lot of souvenirs are based on this image, while New York has its own legendary yellow taxi. However, how do we imagine the taxi of Japan? Toyota is presenting a new interpretation of how it could look like. And, as you would imagine, it will be packed with technology.
Toyota announced its plans to launch a new taxi for the Japanese market before April 2018. It will be based on the JPN Taxi Concept, which made its global debut at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. Toyota prepared an updated version of it for the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show. At first look, it seems to be very similar to British iconic black cabs. However, company says that it will represent Japanese values, especially the spirit of Japanese hospitality.
Toyota hopes that it will spread through the country and will be recognizable worldwide. Actually, even today’s cabs of Japan are usually Toyota – company says that the archetypal taxi throughout the country today is Toyota Crown Comfort.
It was launched back in December 1995 for a very specific market – it was meant to become medium-sized taxis and driving school cars. There was also a medium-sized taxis and driving school cars, which had a wheelbase that was 105 mm shorter than that of the Crown Comfort.
Both of these cars were optimized for carrying luggage and providing ultimate space and comfort for the passengers on the rear seat. In 2008 the Crown Comfort won the Good Design Award in the long life design award category. However, the new Toyota taxi car is likely to be even more advanced and corresponding to the challenges of current times.
Toyota says that it is important to keep up with the trends in Japan as well as in the world. This is why the new taxi car will have to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Also, it will have to take into account such demographic change as a rapidly aging population. It is clear that people in advanced age look for different things in transportation and needs are different. Therefore modern taxi car should account for the needs of the broad spectrum of people.
The latest concept retains most important features of the concept car exhibited at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. The next-generation taxi still features a hatchback-type package. It will also feature low floor and wide-opening sliding door. This allows for incredibly easy access to and out of the car. Furthermore, unlike taxis that we mostly use nowadays, this one will be so spacious and easy to get into even people in wheelchairs will be able to board. It is also said that the vehicle will be manoeuvrable in urban environment and will provide comfort for all occupant of the car.
This is the peculiarity of specifically developed taxi cars – they do not need extremely good handling or to be good at highway speeds as they are meant for short journeys in the city environment. The Japanese government set a goal to provide buses and taxis that are barrier-free and tailored specifically to local needs, and Toyota hopes that the next-generation taxi will meet these requirements. It is also meant to be very environmentally friendly.
While older Toyota Crown Comfort is powered by a simple 2-litre 6 or 4 cylinder engine that we all know and like, the next-generation taxi will use much more advanced technologies and fuel. New Toyota taxi will have a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) hybrid system, which is still being developed. This system is said to be extremely economical. It also offers excellent environmental performance optimized for taxi driving conditions. Toyota will also ensure that this powertrain as well as other parts of the car will be very durable to withstand long-distance usage.
Toyota’s next-generation taxi will only reach the streets after three years. This means we will have to wait and see if it will gain iconic status of some other taxi cars around the world. But it is clear even now that it will be very innovative and comfortable for all kinds of passengers as well as will offer environmentally-conscious solutions.