Volkswagen Unveils Milano Taxi EV Concept at Hanover Trade Show

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A new member has been added to Volkswagen's Up! city car concept series. Revealed at the Hanover Trade Show, the Milano Taxi is a potential prototype for a new generation of emission-free taxis powered by an electric motor.

The mini-MPV-esque show car measures just 3.73 meters in length, 1.66 meters in width and 1.60 meters in height, making it shorter and narrower than the Fox. It features a single swivel-sliding door on the passenger's side that opens in a forward direction.

Volkswagen says that the Milano Taxi concept is capable of carrying two passengers at the rear in comfort with legroom at the back measuring a luxury-saloon-rivaling 120mm. To improve space, the car uses the front passenger seat to carry luggage.

Special features include an iPad-like LCD display mounted on the reverse of the driver's seat that allows rear passengers to see an overview of the route being taken, pay the fare or change the climate functions in the back of the vehicle.

The driver gets similar screen that can be personalized to show any combination of information relating to the vehicle systems, passenger fare or navigation functions.

The Milano Taxi is motivated by an electric motor capable of generating a peak output of 115-horsepower. Energy is provided by a lithium-ion battery integrated into the underside of the vehicle with a storage capacity of 45 Kilowatt-hours.

Weighing in at a hefty 1,500kg or 3,306 pounds, the Milano Taxi can travel at speeds of up to 74 mph or 119 km/h and up to 186 miles or about 300 km between charges.

The German maker also claims that the charging time of the lithium-ion batteries has been substantially reduced with over 80 per cent of its total capacity being reached in just over an hour.

Volkswagen plans to have its first all-electric model on the road by 2013.