CAMBRIDGE, UK Industrial designer Alberto Villareal developed the concept of a sustainable taxi including a lightweight, flexible solar panel on the roof that could be used to provide power for some of the car's electronics and supplement the fuel cell used to run the vehicle.
Originally designed in 2008 for a design competition in Mexico City, where the designer lives and works, the MX-Libris taxi was nominated for and won the coveted Red dot concept award in 2008.
A few months ago, two companies independently contacted Villareal, to discuss developing the concept. One is a taxi distribution and management firm and the other a car body maker. Both are based in Mexico.
The MX-Libris taxi concept is a zero emissions vehicle designed for Latin American cities, taking into consideration the cultural, climate, urban demographic and transit conditions of cities on the continent.
Villareal's design includes a strip of lighting that runs around the taxi's roof in a band that can be switched on when the taxi is free. The designer wants to rely on conformable lighting technologies such as electroluminescent (EL) or flexible LED strips. LED or OLED technologies could be used for the head and rear lamps.
The MX-Libris would also employ drive-by-wire technology, where electronics replace mechanical elements and functions of cars, creating more room and also helping to make cars lighter and more fuel efficient.
Although the first prototypes would be expensive, the design could be adjusted. To fund the prototyping stage, Villareal will also apply to CTS (Centro de Transporte Sustentable) Mexico, an institute set up to promote green transport.
Check out Zanic Design's MX Libris page.