When Cabs Fly

Taxi of the Future!

The hybrid-powered MiniModal concept cab by Hybrid Product Design + Development Photo: Hybrid Product Design + Development

Though the gas-powered taxi has been around for 100 years, the vehicle’s design elegance (folding seats and all) peaked with the last new Checker in the mid-seventies. Trying to inspire a taxi renaissance, the Design Trust for Public Space will display several cab-of-the-future models (along with a 1956 and 1975 Checker) at the New York International Auto Show, which opens tomorrow at the Javits Center. The crop looks hopeful but pretty familiar: There’s a PT-Cruiser model by Hybrid Technologies Inc. that looks like a car you’d buy from Restoration Hardware and a model from Kia featuring a side panel with “Welcome to New York” in a medley of languages. Should Pixar take credit for the above cab, by Hybrid Product Design and Development? Design Trust director Deborah Marton told a crowd of booze-swilling car reporters yesterday that the taxi “represents diversity because the face driving it is the future of our city,” and Taxi & Limousine Commissioner Matthew Daus promised to make cabs “more attractive and appropriate.” We love the return of the folding seat and the electric models on display. With the potential for illuminated, outer-borough cab stands — photo after the jump — these hacks might even go to West Bushwick. —Alec Appelbaum

Taxi Stand of the Future!

The interactive taxi stand by Weisz + Yoes Photo: Weisz + Yoes

When Cabs Fly