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The project to deliver a fleet of the zero emission taxis to the streets of London in time for the 2012 Olympics is on track, with the first Fuel Cell Black Cabs covering a combined total of over 8,000 miles in road and test track testing conditions. The 2011 Bridgestone Eco-Rally will be another milestone in the high profile zero emission trial. The taxi is designed to excel in rush-hour traffic, with smooth and responsive acceleration provided by the fuel cell and electric motors.
The zero emission taxis have been developed by a consortium, led by Intelligent Energy, which includes Lotus Engineering, London Taxis International and TRW Conekt with part-funding from the UK Government’s Technology Strategy Board. The fuel cell and battery powered hybrid taxi provides a 250 mile driving range with rapid refuelling, all within the confines of the body of a conventional London taxi. Now that fully functional, validated, proven vehicles have been produced, the consortium plans to push ahead with the delivery of a fleet to London in time for 2012.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, wants to make Britain a leader in fuel cell technology and has already announced plans to increase hydrogen refuelling stations around the capital. He said:
“These prototype zero-emission taxis are a shining example of British ingenuity, combining revolutionary fuel cell technology with an iconic design classic. This marks an important milestone in my goal to create a cleaner cab fleet, firstly through introduction of the first ever age limits moving towards zero-emission vehicles as they come to market. Affordable and low polluting cabs are within our grasp and I urge manufacturers to accelerate efforts to produce them.”
“The Fuel Cell Black Cabs are now road proven with thousands of miles of operation. Indeed, many people may have seen them as they have been driven around various parts of the UK, but we are now happy to formally announce their road legal status and that you will be seeing more of them in the coming months,” noted Dr. Henri Winand, Chief Executive of Intelligent Energy.
“At a time when London will soon be demonstrating its commitment to excellence in the sporting arena, we are proud to show that the UK can also deliver world-leading zero emissions, fuel cell electric vehicle technology that will make a real difference both to lowering carbon emissions and improving air quality.”
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said:
“Green vehicles are taking to the streets in a big way. High petrol prices and the desire to clean up our air quality make them the smart choice. The zero emissions London taxi looks and performs just like a conventional taxi, even over long distances. It’s a great British innovation and I look forward to seeing them in service in London next year.”
Paul Everitt, Chief Executive of SMMT, said:
“The UK is at the heart of the global low carbon industry and is a leader for research and development into new technologies. Over the coming years the low carbon sector is set to become increasingly important for manufacturers and motorists. The Fuel Cell Black Cab is a terrific example of British engineering skills and pioneering innovation”.