Photo: NY Cab from 2014


An Australian student team has put forward the design of an all-electric cab to replace New York’s famous taxis.

New York City’s taxi commission is inviting applications for what it calls “The Taxi of Tomorrow” - an iconic cab that replaces the existing fleet.

They will be used from three years time in 2014.

The commission’s requirements: it has to be

  • one that has a smaller environmental footprint (lower emissions and improved fuel economy)
  • smaller physical footprint (with more usable interior room)
  • complies with Disabilities Act requirements,
  • and is “an iconic design that will identify the new taxi with New York City.”

The Australians’ ‘Unicab’ seats up to 7 passengers, has roomy interiors, a ramp for the disabled and low floors. Besides being electric, it has solar energy panels on the roof, brake energy conversion, hydrogen fuel cells and plug-in recharging.

The vehicle has few moving component parts all of which are easily accessed:

  • Low profile “puncture less” tires on rims revolve around electric engines located in their hubs which is regulated by onboard computer to equalize power out put applied between all wheels & importantly there is no energy dissipation in the travel through the drive train to the output point as in conventional cars
  • The lighter but stronger than steel body rides on adjustable air & hydraulic suspension to give superior handling on all terrains and a more ergonomically functional, spacious and comfortable interior environment, ingress/egress
  • A large “koala pouch” like luggage compartment which simultaneously slides out & settles down on the ground for ease of use and to eliminate occupational health & safety concerns in loading/unloading…
  • Luggage which is held in place by retractable belts that tighten with every movement like those and as additional supply of those hidden in the interior to secure wheelchairs.

The commission also wants to encourage a “ride share concept” in which people can hail a taxi going the same way and split the fare.

The front passenger seat turns around

The Unicab design has LED screens on the outside front windshield and side windows would say where the cab is going and if any spare seats are available.




  1. Carl says:

    kind of interesting, if an aussie has designed it, why don’t they trail them here (im in aussie)

    not a 100% on cab sharing though… can be akward at the best of times..


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