Researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) unveiled their electric taxi prototype, codenamed EVA, at the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show this week. The new car can be charged in just 15 minutes.
EVA serves as a platform to showcase the results of the innovations and developments at TUM CREATE, a joint research program by Technische Universitaet Muenchen and Nanyang Technological University.
A key highlight is the car’s super-fast charging system. It is designed to be recharged in just 15 minutes to cover a realistic range of 200 km [approx. 125 mi] (based on Singapore driving patterns), which will be an industry benchmark. Other features found on EVA include the extensive use of lightweight materials and energy-saving solutions such as individualized overhead air-conditioning.
“This new electric taxi for tropical mega cities, developed and constructed by two leading universities, highlights the successful collaboration of TUM and NTU,” said Prof. Dr. Wolfgang A. Herrmann, President of Technische Universitaet Muenchen. “The scientific and technological breakthrough is based on a spirit of mutual trust and understanding. For more than ten years, TUM has been operating its branch TUM Asia in Singapore, with currently 380 students and many hundreds alumni. It is a great joy for me to see that our years long, joint efforts, supported by the National Research Foundation, bears now fruits.”
Transportation companies around the world typically re-purpose passenger cars as taxis. However, the challenge of current electric vehicles is the extremely limited range and long recharge times (up to 8 hours), making them impractical as taxis. TUM CREATE aims to address these issues, as well as the unique challenges posed by the heat and humidity in tropical megacities, through its research and development. Unlike temperate climates, passenger cooling and battery pack heat management are issues specific to tropical and equatorial regions.
As a form of public transportation, introducing e-taxis into the local taxi fleets has a high leveraging effect to decrease carbon emissions. “While taxis account for less than 3% of the vehicle population in Singapore, they contribute to 15% of the total distance travelled,” explains Principal Investigator Dr. Daniel Gleyzes. “The average two-shift taxi covers over 500 km a day.”
EVA was designed from the ground-up as an e-taxi and is a result of interdisciplinary research in the areas of energy storage, battery charging, thermal management, and lightweight materials and design. This project milestone marks the first time that a Singapore-based organization is participating and presenting a vehicle in the 59-year history of Asia’s most important automotive tradeshow.