Lotus developed fleet will be on our roads by 2012

A fleet of hydrogen fuel cell powered black cabs will be on London's roads by 2012 as part of plans to make the capital's taxis tailpipe emissions free by 2020.

A prototype Fuel Cell Hybrid London taxi has been unveiled at City Hall this morning and is the work of a consortium of companies, including Lotus Engineering. London is looking to clean up its air quality, much polluted by diesel fumes from taxis and buses, and this taxi is one of its first steps in tackling the problem.

Kit Malthouse, chair of London's hydrogen partnership, said pollution from black cabs needed to be addressed.

"The black cab is a much loved London icon, but it is also a significant source of pollution, especially in the city centre.

"This prototype Fuel Cell Black Cab, which emits only water from its tailpipe, is an exciting glimpse of how hydrogen technology could soon play a pivotal role in cleaning up air quality for urban dwellers."

The prototype is capable of a top speed of 80mph, has a range of 250miles and can be recharged in five minutes.

Officials from the project believe these figures are enough to cope with the daily as well as yearly stresses put on black cabs on London's streets, but concede that further funding, convincing drivers and creating a network of refueling points were all problems that needed to be addressed.

Just under £5.5 million funding has so far come from the Technology Strategy Board, and a fleet will be on London's roads by 2012 to showcase the technology in time for the Olympics.

The capital will also have five hydrogen buses on its roads later this year.

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7 June 2010

Sounds like a good idea, at least the vehicle has a reasonable range at 250 miles. If the Government is serious about this project, surely £5.5 million is peanuts, even in the current economic climate ?

7 June 2010

All very good but I hope this new powertrain is not wrapped up in that awful taxi concept in the picture.

7 June 2010

The biggest greenhouse gas is water vapour. Hydrogen cars are not the solution, short of fitting condensing gear to them. Jaguar is working on gas turbine range extender hybrids, as are some companies in the US - I recall reading of a US supercar which did 0-60 in 3.something seconds and had a top speed of oh my god mph, yet could do 3 figures of MPG if driven carefully, thanks to the turbine-electric hybrid powertrain it used... and, given the simplicity, compactness, lightness and reliability of today's small turbines, it seems like a good solution. Also, with turbines, it's a case of 'can you pour it? Will it burn? Right, put it in, then'. They'll burn almost anything - including biofuels. Audi is, I understand, working on a Wankel-hybrid A1 - another good idea, methinks.

7 June 2010

Straight Six Man - Water Vapour may be the most abundant green house gas but it forms part of a natural cycle and we won't upset this cycle. You need to read up a bit more. Non of the climate change folk seem to be interested in water vapour.

7 June 2010

He also needs to read up a little more on the costs of efficient and reliable turbines. My limited understanding of them is that you can have cheap, efficient and reliable, but not all at the same time.

7 June 2010

[quote MattDB]All very good but I hope this new powertrain is not wrapped up in that awful taxi concept in the picture.[/quote]

They definatley need to redesign the black cab. Not only are they ugly, but they are not particularly comfortable to ride in either.

7 June 2010

Great Idea, but wouldnt it be easier to get Honda to just bring in some of their Claritys.

But any move away from Diesels in city centers has to a move in the right direction.

7 June 2010

This is an exciting development for sure.

7 June 2010

Great. They just need to get the hydrogen from somewhere now...


7 June 2010

[quote Oilburner]They just need to get the hydrogen from somewhere now...[/quote]

It always seems that you've got to put more energy in to getting the hydrogen in the first place than you could get out. Even if you're just splitting water you're throwing away part of your product!

I can't say that I know the answer, I don't. But the work by Craig Venter look the most promising.


If you could modify DNA of some biological process, say sea weed, to give off some sort of oil then in effect you'd have a solution. A biological solution.

As for the climate change scientists not looking at water vapour as a green house gas; they tend not to look at anything which may upset their grants! It's moved from a science to a religion.


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