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31.10.2017
Japan
Sector: LPG

Toyota JPN Taxi: order books open

Toyota JPN Taxi: order books open © Toyota

Dedicated taxi cabs have long been exclusive to Great Britain, or at least the black cabs are the most iconic ones. The Toyota JPN Taxi aims to make the phrase "Tokyo taxi" just as popular as meaningful as "London taxi" is today.
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Toyota JPN Taxi© ToyotaThe cabin is so spacious passengers are bound to feel like VIPs in a chauffered limo

A taxi from the ground up

If you are a regular visitor to gazeo.com, you will know this is not the first time we're presenting the JPN Taxi to our readers. In fact, since the concept car version first surfaced in 2013, we wrote about this curious vehicle on several occasions. The previous one was in late 2015, when the finalised designed of the car was demonstrated to the public during the Tokyo Motor Show. However, the powertrain was still "under construction" back then and the Japanese firm announced everything would be ready in time to enter service in spring 2018. Apparently Toyota is determined to keep its promise – the JPN Taxi will hit the streets just then.

An LPG hybrid

It's been known since the very beginning the car would feature a hybrid powertrain whose combustion engine would run on autogas – a fuel of choice for Japanese taxi cabs for decades. Just in time for the car's final debut, set for the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota has announced some details regarding the LPG-powered unit – it will be a 1,5-litre one, fueled from a tank located behind the rear bench seat. Assisted by an electric motor and onboard batteries, the engine is said to make do with as little as 5,2 l of autogas per 100 km. Given the fuel's low price (around 50% of the price of petrol), the taxi's running costs will be next to nothing.

Toyota JPN Taxi's hybrid powertrain© ToyotaDurable, reliable mechanicals and purpose-built, insanely functional bodywork - all taxis should be like this!

Built to last

Toyota's hybrid powertrains maintain the brand's good name in terms of durability and reliability, but in this particular case engineers put an extra effort into making the JPN Taxi's engine combo particularly tough to make sure it withstands years of demanding service without failure. And if they say so, you can be sure the cars will be able to cover half a million kilometres without ever breaking down. Toyota hopes both locals and tourists (especially those visiting Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic Games) will instantly fall for the car and it will shortly become as much of an icon as the London hackney carriage is today. Of course, the JPN Taxi arrives several tens of years late, but has a bunch of aces hiding up its sleeve.

Passengers first

Since the car has been purpose-built to haul people from A to B, it's oriented towards their comfort and needs. The floor is completely flat and low above the ground for ease of entering and exiting. To make things even more convenient, the door on the left is a sliding one (and a very tall one at that). The interior features handles, charging ports and air conditioning vents aplenty and the boot is spacious enough to accommodate four people's luggage. It's located at the back, where you'd expect it (unlike in London taxis, where the baggage space is next to the driver).

Up for grabs now

The order books for the car are now open in Japan. The base model, Nagomi, retails for under 3,3 million yen (approx. 29 thousand US dollars), while the better equipped Takumi variant is priced at 3,5 million yen ($31 thousand). Perhaps there are more affordable cabs out there, but few of them are as tailor-made for the role as this one. And few offer the running costs of a lawn mower!



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Robert Markowski
source: Toyota



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