Modern-day rickshaws make fabulous taxis for those embarking on short journeys, but they have one major drawback – the humans that pedal them are just that – flesh, and flesh tires easily. TUM Create, a division of the University of Munich, has eliminated that bottleneck by creating the Voi – a motorised scooter-cum-rickshaw-cum-taxi concept that’s powered by batteries and an electric motor.
The Voi, co-created with technical expertise from Singapore’s Nanyang Technical University, has a cabin at the front that can keep one passenger dry as the rider sits exposed at the rear. In taxi mode, the incredibly narrow vehicle can zip unhindered through traffic at speeds of up to 45kmh for a nominal range of 80km.
Cleverly, the Voi’s cabin is completely interchangeable, so the passenger compartment can be swapped for a cargo box – ideal for couriers – or even a mobile kitchen, which is great if you’re the sort of person that likes to cook or sell food on the move. This thing could revolutionise the late night burger van industry. If only they could come up with some way of combining the taxi cabin with the kitchen, they’d be onto a surefire winner.
As with all things that are a good idea in principle but arguably flawed in a way that might render them completely dangerous, the Voi is just a concept and there are no plans to actually build it for the mass market. Still, we can’t help but applaud the students at TUM Create for their willingness to experiment with new types of transport.
Have a look at it in the video below.