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fot. gazeo.pl / Once the conversion is complete, the battery pack under the hood looks like this poprzednie następne
17.10.2012
Poland
Sector: LPG

EcoCar System - tomorrow's taxis today

EcoCar System - tomorrow's taxis today © gazeo.pl

Do you remember the original Total Recall film? In one of the scenes, the character played by Arnold Schwarzenegger rides in an automated taxi, driven by an annoyingly polite cyborg driver. What if you could erase the sci-fi background and travel in a cab of the future today, in the real world? Green Capital City gives you the opportunity – at least as long as you are in Warsaw.
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EVC Group conversion centre© gazeo.comRight here, on the back of Green Capital City's headquarters in the Praga district of Warsaw, internal combustion nymphs transform into electric butterflies

You would think little can be done that could revolutionise taxis. After all, it comes down to giving people rides for money, right? However, if you travel outside Poland – not necessarily to countries regarded as more developed – you will see that a lot remains to be done. Even a single taxi company's fleet is more often than not a random collection of vehicles and it is usually the driver who decides what model to choose so that it suits him or her personally rather than professionally. In Poland, you recognise a car as being a cab by the number of ads on the body, not a distinct model (like in Britain) or at least colour (like with the Yellow Cabs in New York). Well, things are bound to change thanks to EcoCar System, a subsidiary of Green Capital City – a whole new personal transportation operator in Warsaw. The company does not look up to its current competitors and aims to give a thorough makeover to the idea of a cab as it is perceived in Poland. How do they plan to do that?

Awaiting drivetrain transplant© gazeo.comThis is the last moment for these Mondeos as internal combustion-driven machines. Soon they will be operated on and cured of emissions

First of all, EcoCar bets on a fleet composed of identical cars, which also stand out in the streets. For most part, these are Ford Mondeo liftbacks, with a couple of estates and Galaxy vans in reserve, to cover all possible needs. The cars are white, with green wrapping around the waist and multifunctional, broad beacon lights on the roofs. Thanks to this, the cars are easily distinguishable as cabs belonging to a particular taxi company. But there is more to make EcoCar one of its kind: the service standard. When ordering a fare, the customer determines the destination and receives a not-more-than price estimate. The driver, on the other hand, receives a planned route from the dispatcher and calculated on the basis of up-to-date congestion information. The driver must follow the route precisely, until he or she is instructed otherwise. And once you get on board, you have a range of personalisation options at your disposal, including surfing the Web (through a built-in screen or your own device), video conferences (there is a camera inside), selection of music, interior colour and even the scent inside! How much will all that be?

Work in progress© gazeo.comThe procedure is painless and requires no convalescence - cars are lively and ready to go right away, although by approx. 100 kg heavier than before

Slightly more than competitors demand, probably, but considering all the on-board options, the prices remain attractive.

Yet, the above is nothing compared to the greatest innovation introduced by the Warsaw company. EcoCar System take pride in being the first company not only in Poland, but probably in the whole world (except maybe for Germany, Japan and the US, where small-scale tests have been undertaken) to use fully electric taxis. At the moment of writing this text, only a fraction of the 100-vehicle fleet was converted to electric drive, but the plans for future are ambitious – by the end of 2012 the company wants to reach the 1000 threshold in terms of vehicles number and ultimately 2000. Out of these, ¾ are going to be converted, while the remaining ¼ will still use combustion engines and fuels for the sake of further journeys. According to the authorities of Warsaw, there are 9300 licensed taxis in the city altogether, which means EcoCar System wants to be visible and reach a remarkable market share.

. Time for a little surprise: the yet non-converted Mondeos used by the cab company are powered by... LPG! The cars are supplied to EcoCar System's headquarters as petrol-powered vehicles with 1,6 l engines and BRC autogas systems (with Flashlube valve saver kits). There, they are converted to electric drive by Green Capital City's branch EVC Group. The original propulsion system of each vehicle is almost completely eradicated (almost, because the gearbox remains in place and retains it…
 

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Robert Markowski
source: EcoCar System, Biuro Działalności Gospodarczej i Zezwoleń Urzędu m. st. Warszawy



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