Yesterday at work I caught a radio interview with someone announcing Sydney is trialing a hybrid fuel taxi, the Toyota Prius (click image). Being distracted with a passenger I only managed to hear a section of the interview where the spruiker (who may have been a government fella) was relating how modern vehicles are overpowered and don't require that amount of power to get around.
The radio guest made this comment by way of justifying the relative low power of the gas/electric Prius. Quite, I thought, until you load four heavy footballer types at the Coogee Palace Hotel - where else - and crank the cab up mountainous Arden Street. Or attempt to.
Current Ford LPG taxis generate maximum power of 156kW at 5000 rpm and maximum torque of 374Nm at 2750 rpm. By comparison the Toyota Prius is quoted providing 57kW of power and 115Nm of torque. Ultimately though, this may not be an issue given the Prius only carries three passengers. Which in itself, is another problem for cabs.
Within 30 minutes of the interview I chanced upon the trial hybrid fuel cab at the Foveaux Street Legion taxi garage. This was one block from The Daily Telegraph in Holt Street yet do you think they could provide some pics ? Not online at least. Whatever, I took some snaps myself just to record how ugly the thing is. To be fair though, looks and low power may be the only serious drawbacks in an experimental vehicle generally considered well built and revolutionary. It biggest selling point (from $37,000-$46,000) is massive fuel savings,
Modern technology gives you the Prius. And Prius gives you the power to save. Save the environment and save on fuel costs. In Australian Government Standard testing, the Prius achieved fuel consumption of 4.4 litres / 100 km under the combined cycle*. That's up to 50% less consumption than a comparably-sized family car. One tank of fuel could theoretically get you over an astonishing 1,000km.
In producing hybrid fuel vehicles, Toyota and Honda have thrown down the gauntlet to the American car industry, whom they are challenging for global leadership. Will American manufactures accept this impertinent challenge ? You bet ! Ford America has just announced their own hybrid fuel model - the Super Chief, a V10, 6.7m long utility,
It appears Ford will again come out on top in 2005 with the F-150 in terms of sales, so what better way to celebrate than with a gargantuan truck concept sporting some trick powerplant technology. The Ford Super Chief runs on the world’s first Tri-Flex fuel engine, a supercharged V10 capable of running on hydrogen, E85 or gasoline.
Ford claims this type of engine makes perfect sense as an interim powerplant until the nation builds a proper infrastructure for the commercial delivery of E85 and in the future hydrogen. When the Tri-Flex V10 is running on hydrogen it achieves a 12% improvement in fuel economy over a non-S/C gas V10 and can go 500 miles between fill ups.
Now that's what I call 'vision', a fearless quality which made America great. If only Sydney cabbies has access to the Super Chief, we could carry the whole damn football team. And their floozies,
'Step on it cabbie !'. 'No worries boys - I got a green-friendly supercharged V10 - hang on !'.
Dream on cabbie.