12 August 2014

New to Milan – Environmentally-Friendly Taxis for Everybody

Milan is home to the first versatile and environmentally-friendly taxi service, which is able to accommodate disabled passengers thanks to its low floor. This is the outcome of a partnership between the Cavagna Group, Rolfi Special Trims and Citroen Italy.

It is called the Citroen Berlingo Freespace For All and it is the first multi-purpose, eco-friendly taxi that is able to accommodate disabled passengers thanks to its low floor.

Featuring a hybrid bi-fuel engine, this vehicle is the result of a partnership between Rolfi, a company based in Brescia, which specialises in special trims for the disabile; Citroen, the renowned French carmaker; and WLPGA member and Industry Council member, Cavagna Group, which provided the technology needed to power the car on LPG, leading to tangible benefits in terms of environmental impact and operating costs.

Both the innovative fuel tank and the new low floor of the Citroen Berlingo Freespace For All, has been designed to accomodate the technical features of the original chassis; this allows a '"special car" to be created that is actually very similar to a common vehicle for passenger transportation.

Indeed, it is a low-floor Freespace Berlingo that on the outside looks exactly like any vehicle from the series; however, thanks to the technical equipment with which the vehicle is fitted, it allows disabled people to board on a wheelchair in just a few seconds. What’s more, it can quickly return to its original 5-seat arrangement when there is not a disabled person on board. In this way, the taxi does not have to sacrifice any seats, which is a considerable advantage for both the taxi driver and for reliable municipal service in general.

The introduction of this new kind of taxi really is a game-changer. Up to now, ecological taxis for people in wheelchairs have been created by adapting raised roofs and internal elevators to existing car models, with results that leave much to be desired: long boarding times for disabled people (which obviously leades to higher taxi fares), a general reduction in the taxi’s interior spaces and the idea that the taxi is exclusively for disabled people, due to the bulky and visible equipment that must be put to use.

Taxi service has already started up with this new vehicle in Milan, and as the Expo 2015 approaches, Milan’s City Council has issued a special notice to all taxi drivers in order to encourage the use to use of eco-friendly vehicles that can accommodate disabled passengers.

Davide Cavagna, the CEO of the Cavagna Group, has this to say about the Citroen Berlingo Freespace For All project: "We decided to enter into this partnership because of our Group’s commitment to the CRM activities, and in particolar to those activities that are able to improve people’s general well-being and, at the same time, protect the eco-environmental protection. No matter how you look at it, LPG remains an ideal choice as an alternative fuel even for taxi service.”

About the Cavagna Group

The Cavagna Group has been supplying industries and consumers worldwide with equipment and fittings for compressed gases, gas storage and gas control since 1949. Today, the Cavagna Group offers the most complete and reliable line of products and the most dynamic services available to the industry, affirming its position as one of the world’s leading manufacturers in the field. Cavagna Group’s experience, combined with the reliability of its product range, has led to long-lasting partnerships with virtually all the major oil/gas companies, as well as with producers of compressed gas containers and gas appliance OEMs. The Cavagna Group employs approximately 1000 people worldwide. Cavagna Group is made up of nine vertically integrated production companies in Italy, and nine other companies spread out across five continents. With a distribution network consisting of an additional fifteen fully-owned distribution companies, the Cavagna Group is now selling its products in more than 135 countries worldwide.