I spent yesterday morning marvelling once again at the German love for the uniquely British vehicle. A group of Volkswagen designers (as well as the German ambassador to London) gathered in a small art gallery near Trafalgar Square to present VW’s concept cab to the world.
Even now, I am still astonished at the ability of even younger Germans to become misty-eyed over bizarre old Brit vehicles, such as the current London Black cab. To me, the Black cab is crude, overweight and over the hill. To the average VW designer it’s an inspiration, in form and function if not engineering.
I was greatly amused to hear that the design team had managed to borrow a Black cab from a local taxi company in Wolfsburg and spent a couple of days pouring over it and even driving it on the local roads.
Of course, while the VW designers love the design cues and individuality of the Black cab, the engineering concept of the VW cab is rigorously logical and forward-looking.
It’s pretty heavy (1500kg against the Black Cab’s 1800kg) but then it’s fitted with a massive battery, in order to have the range for a long day’s shift. The use of touch screens to allow translation and payment are also no-brainer essentials for the cabs of the future.