The era of the electric vehicle is drawing nearer (albeit excruciatingly slowly) and with Volkswagen set to get its first EV into showrooms in 2013, its latest EV concept indicates how the world's third largest auto maker is reading the market. Dubbed the Milano Taxi, the concept is a long overdue shot at getting a purpose-built electric cab into major cities. The 115 PS vehicle can reach 74 mph, travel 186 miles between charges and be recharged to 80 percent of capacity in just over an hour.

The 115 PS (113.42 hp) motor is fed by a lithium-ion battery integrated into the underside of the taxi concept, with a storage capacity of 45 Kilowatt-hours. This, combined with a kerb weight of 1,500 kg, allows the Milano Taxi concept to reach 74 mph.

Despite measuring just 3.73 meters in length, 1.66 meters in width and 1.60 meters in height (making it shorter and narrower than the VW Fox) the Milano Taxi concept is capable of carrying two passengers in comfort. A glass panel roof creates a bright and, with 944 mm of headroom, spacious environment. Measuring 120 mm, the rear legroom rivals that of luxury saloons. Substantial space is also assigned at the front of the car to carry luggage, while entry to the vehicle is made easier and more practical through the integration of a large door that both swivels and slides forward.

Once aboard, passengers can access an LCD display mounted on the reverse of the driver’s seat 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 is faced by a similar screen that can be personalized to show any combination of information relating to the vehicle systems, passenger fare or navigation functions.

Intricate headlights featuring integrated LED running lights frame a bonnet that, through the absence of a grille, is able to sweep down into the front bumper and create a bold, simple appearance. At the rear, the lights fit neatly into the window panel, yet sit separately from a pair of 60:40 split doors.

View gallery - 5 images