Another goal with the design was to make the new taxi environmentally friendly, using a hybrid powertrain, and it’s also meant to convey a strong sense of hospitality for riders. They’re also designed to be remarkably durable vehicles, and to provide ample interior space and ease of getting in and out.
The Japan Taxi features a low and flat floor, and wide opening power sliding doors which the driver can remotely open and close. That makes it easier to get on carrying a suitcase, and the interior space can be re-arranged quickly so that a wheelchair can be loaded into the vehicle more easily.
The cockpit is designed to be more driver friendly, with a wide field of view thanks to an improved A-pillar, and the hybrid engine improves fuel efficiency and lowers emissions versus the vehicles it will replace.
Japan Taxi’s distinctive exterior color is called ‘koiai’ in Japanese, or indigo blue. There is a long history in Japan of using indigo plant dye for various applications, most of which convey a ‘high-class and formal, yet also approachable’ feeling according to Kayukawa. The Olympic Games logo for the Tokyo games is also ‘koiai’ in color, so that fits with its plan to roll it out in higher volume in time for that event.
Toyota says that currently about 70 to 80 percent of taxis on the road in Japan are Comfort or Crown sedans, exclusively intended for use as taxis. The Japan Taxi will replace the Comfort Style, which will cease production after more than 22 years on the road.
Toyota anticipates that around 10,000 Japan Taxis will be on the roads in Tokyo alone in time for the 2020 games.
Disclaimer: Toyota provided accommodations and travel for this trip to the Tokyo Motor Show.