The Melbourne Taxi 2020 Concept was created by Damian Lucaciu, a student designer from the RMIT University, Australia. The project involved the computer design of a green alternative fuel vehicle that would help clean up the streets of Melbourne.
The eco-friendly Taxi 2020 Concept was designed to be both green, (using hydrogen fuel cell, lithium ion batteries and electric motors), and passenger and driver friendly. This plug-in hybrid would not only run on hydrogen but could be plugged in and recharged using a traditional wall socket or at special recharging stations strategically placed around Melbourne.
As an additional bonus, the Taxi 2020 has a set of small solar panels mounted on the rooftop to recharge the vehicle using the sun’s energy. Granted this may be a bit of overkill because of the hydrogen fuel cell and plug-in hybrid capabilities already in place, but as a student design project, this gives additional options for recharging.
For the driver, the Melbourne Taxi 2020 Concept uses GPS, a SmartCard system, and night riding capabilities. For the passengers, there is an entertainment system, disability accommodations and a focus on curbside access.
For safety and fuel efficiency, the aluminum frame covered by a polyautobonate outer shell makes the vehicle lightweight, impact resistant and has high optical qualities for driver visibility. Of course, London will have their hydrogen fuel cell black taxis in place for the 2012 Olympics, which are working vehicles and not just design concepts.
But, the Melbourne Taxi 2020 lets enthusiasts, industry insiders, automotive engineers and others see the possibilities that hydrogen fuel cell autos will be playing within the next 10 years.