It may not look much different than your average black cab on the outside (decals aside), but it's quite a different story under the hood of this taxi, which has just been deemed road legal in the UK. Developed by Intelligent Energy, the cab actually includes both a fuel cell with a 30 kW net output and a 14 kWh lithium polymer battery pack, which combined promise to provide enough juice for a full day of operation -- along with a top speed of 81 MPH and acceleration from zero to sixty in fourteen seconds. Londoners won't be seeing them everywhere just yet, however, as the company only expects the first fleet to be ready sometime next year in time for the 2012 Olympics.
Road Legal Fuel Cell Black Cabs Make First Appearance on London's Roads
Posted 28th March 2011
LOUGHBOROUGH, UK, 28th March 2011, Intelligent Energy, the global clean power systems company, has announced that the Fuel Cell Black Cabs have taken to the roads of London for the first time since being awarded Road Legal status by the UK Vehicle Certification Authority (VCA). At an event on 22nd March 2011, one of the Intelligent Energy powered taxis travelled from Forbes House, headquarters of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and the taxi's base for the day, to some of London's most iconic landmarks.
The project to deliver a fleet of the zero emission taxis to the streets of London in time for 2012 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. During its first tour of London's roads, one of the Fuel Cell Black Cabs excelled in rush-hour traffic, with smooth and responsive acceleration provided by the fuel cell and electric motors.
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 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.
"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".
The Fuel Cell Black Cab on Westminster Bridge as it passes the Houses of Parliament
About Intelligent Energy
Intelligent Energy is a global clean power systems company, with a range of leading fuel cell and hydrogen generation technologies. The company partners with leading global companies in the transportation, oil and gas, aerospace, defence, distributed generation and portable power markets. Current partners and customers include Scottish & Southern Energy plc and The Suzuki Motor Corporation, with whom Intelligent Energy built the Burgman Fuel Cell Scooter, a recent recipient of European WVTA (Whole Vehicle Type Approval) – a first for any fuel cell vehicle, which qualifies the scooter as safe to use on all EU public roads and another important commercial milestone on the path to clean, user friendly mobility for all. Other Intelligent Energy world's firsts in recent years include the development of the world's first hydrogen fuel cell motorbike and supplying the fuel cell system to Boeing which powered the world's first manned fuel cell aircraft.
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