Tropical megacities such as Singapore stack a lot of people in a relatively small space. Many of these people get around at least part of the time via taxies, which given this frequency can contribute a relatively large share of harmful emissions. A joint research project between the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) and Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) aims to help fix this, unveiling at the recent Tokyo Motor Show an electric taxi concept known as EVA.
In places like Singapore where taxis account for less than 3% of the vehicle population but contribute to 15% of the total distance travelled, it is not uncommon for an average two-shift taxi to cover over 310 miles daily. The EVA electric taxi looks to make this experience something that is both convenient and more environmentally friendly, principally by covering over 120 miles on a single charge and being capable of having its battery fully recharged in as little as 15 minutes to limit down time and lost cab fares.
In developing EVA, TUM and NTU aimed to stray away from current electric vehicles and some of the limitations they face, while also aiming to address specific regional issues when driving around in tropical settings. To this end, the electric taxi includes “the extensive use of lightweight materials and energy-saving solutions such as individualized overhead air-conditioning,” while also addressing passenger cooling and battery pack heat management as relates to typical heat and humidity that’s present almost daily.
The electric taxi project, supported by Singapore’s National Research Foundation, also includes ergonomically designed seats “equipped with a purpose-built system where suction draws away moisture and heat”; a folding front passenger seat that reveals an integrated child seat and an “infotainment system that allows passengers to control air-conditioning and audio settings wirelessly from their personal mobile devices. Similarly, the central control panel and driver’s instrument cluster are also connected seamlessly to the on-board systems, and are able to provide driving statistics and power-saving tips to the driver.”
There was no mention of when such an electric taxi might actually hit Singapore streets.