Toyota introduces LPG hybrid taxi for Japan
Toyota has unveiled the production version of the JPN Taxi concept for the Tokyo Motor Show, using a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and electric drivetrain to achieve 19.4 km/l (45.6 mpg, 5.51 l/100km). Safety equipment is also a big part of this new taxi model. It will enter Japanese dealerships immediately.
The JPN Taxi sports some features for rider comfort and driver ergonomics as well. A low, flat floor makes it easy for customers to enter and exit the taxi, and the wide-opening rear power sliding door on the left side aids that further and also accommodates an optional wheelchair ramp.
Toyota moved the pillars and side mirrors on the new JPN to improve the driver's visibility. In the driver's cockpit, dashboard instrumentation and telematics are set for easier use and to keep the driver's eyes on the road. The integrated taxi meter is visible by everyone in the vehicle.
Exhibited at the Tokyo Motor Show will be both trim levels for the JPN Taxi, the Standard and Premium. Each offers differing amounts of accoutrements and both will have an LPN-hybrid option for the drivetrain.
The liquefied petroleum gas engine replaces gasoline or diesel with LPN storage in the rear of the vehicle. The combustion engine and hybrid components are otherwise up front and the taxi is of front-wheel drive design.
Going with the JPN Taxi is a Toyota initiative for lane-specific traffic-congestion information in cooperation with the Hire-Taxi Associations of Japan. This project began in April of 2017 and will be integrated into the JPN's TC Smartphone Navigation app.
The information for the traffic congestion app is collected through a combination of analyzed driving video and vehicle data from 500 taxis currently operating in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Service in all JPN Taxis that have opted for it will begin in the second quarter of 2018. It will operate through the same data communications module (DCM) as that already in most Toyota vehicles sold commercially since 2005. This new system will be Tokyo-specific, but may roll out in other parts of Japan as Toyota analyzes usage data.
The traffic congestion information is collected through individual vehicles and transmitted to an artificially intelligent system which analyzes the data. It then generates not only traffic conditions for segments of roadway, as with current-generation traffic information systems, but also lane-specifics including vehicle density, average speeds, construction, temporary closures, and so on. These are then transmitted to other vehicles with the DCM, updating their navigation alerts with the latest.