This is the taxi of the future, according to Volkswagen. VW, which will launch its first production electric vehicles in 2013 has shown this electric driven taxi at the Hanover Trade Show. Called the Milano Taxi concept, it is a city MPV tailored to the needs of taxi drivers and passengers with innovative details such as a swivel-sliding door that opens in a forward direction and customisable taxi touchscreens.

The green and black paint of the concept cab is a tribute to the fashion capital of Milan, where taxis were once painted like this. VW says that the Milano’s styling bears similarities to the iconic Volkswagen Samba Bus of the 1950s, and this plus its emissions-free drive and practicality could “make it a highly coveted vehicle in cities like New York and Tokyo”.

“One door less is all the more for a taxi,” said Walter de Silva, VW Group’s Head of Design. The safest way to enter and exit a taxi is on the sidewalk side, which explains why the LHD Milano’s single swivel-sliding door opens on the right side. The door also extends well into the roof, so the opening is very tall. The Milano’s dimensions is 1.60 m tall, 3.73 m long and 1.66 m wide. Like the Samba Bus, the outer roof areas are transparent; combined with a panoramic glass roof, passengers get a spacious feel and great views of the cityscape above.

Also, the need for passengers to always have to gaze at the taximeter in front to see the current charges is now a thing of the past (the meter in our Proton Iswara cabs are always conveniently shielded by the gear stick!). An 8-inch touchscreen in the Milano’s rear not only displays charges, but incorporates a credit card reader as well!

This cute cab has a top speed of 120 km/h and is driven by an electric motor with 85 kW (50 kW continuous power) powered by a lithium-ion battery located underfloor. VW says that the battery’s storage capacity of 45 Kilowatt-hours (kWh) and the Milano’s relatively low weight (1,500 kg) allows it to cover distances of up to 300 km. The battery can be recharged to 80% capacity in just over one hour.

More pictures after the jump!

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