London taxis are going green
There is a new taxi coming to the streets of London. The new hydrogen and electric vehicle will keep the iconic London taxi shape, while maintaining a range of 250 miles.
The taxi uses a combination of a fuel cell and lithium polymer battery. It will be able to reach a top speed of 80 miles per hour - not that you’ll ever do that in London - and it can be refueled in around five minutes.
"The black cab is a much loved London icon, but it is also a significant source of pollution especially in the centre of the city," said London Deputy Mayor for Policing Kit Malthouse. "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 vital role in cleaning up air quality for urban dwellers."
The base taxi is the LTI TX4, which can fit the hybrid motor without shrinking the interior room or cargo space. UK engineers working for LTI Vehicles, fuel cell provider Intelligent Energy, automotive consultancy TRW Conekt, and Lotus showed off this new mode of transport at London’s city hall.
The city hopes to have a decent fleet of these taxis in time for the 2012 Olympics.
Press release after the jump
Intelligent Energy, Lotus Engineering, LTI Vehicles and TRW Conekt, with funding from the UK Government’s Technology Strategy Board, today unveiled a full performance, zero-emissions Fuel Cell Hybrid London taxi.
While the taxi looks and drives like an iconic London black cab, the Fuel Cell Black Cab is powered by an Intelligent Energy hydrogen fuel cell system hybridised with lithium polymer batteries; allowing the vehicle to operate for a full day without the need for refuelling. Capable of achieving a top speed of over 80 mph, it has a range of more than 250 miles on a full tank of hydrogen, refuels in about 5 minutes and produces no emissions other than water vapour.
London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Chair of the London Hydrogen Partnership, Kit Malthouse, who unveiled the zero emissions fuel cell hybrid taxi at London’s City Hall, said, "The black cab is a much loved London icon, but it is also a significant source of pollution especially in the centre of the city. 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 vital role in cleaning up air quality for urban dwellers."
Later this year, Transport for London will start operating five hydrogen-fuel cell buses, and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has committed to working with manufacturers to make all taxis operating in London zero tail-pipe emissions by 2020.
For the Fuel Cell Black Cab unveiled at City Hall, Lotus Engineering has packaged the full propulsion system including the fuel cell engine and has designed control systems to optimise performance of both the fuel cells and electric drive systems. TRW Conekt led the safety analysis programme, including braking and steering systems, and LTI has provided donor vehicles to assist with the structural modifications to the chassis of the taxis.
The first hackney-carriage licences date from 1662 and apply literally to horse-drawn carriages that operated as vehicles for hire. The black cab that most people associate with London taxis was the Austin FX4, introduced in 1959. The model, with many modifications over the years, remained in production until 1997, making it one of the longest running production vehicles in history. The Intelligent Energy fuel cell system has been integrated into the most recent LTI TX4 design, and fits in to the vehicle without intrusion into its internal or luggage space.
"The Fuel Cell Black Cab is a hackney-carriage fit for the 21st Century and its ever larger urban centres, where the reclamation of good air quality matters hugely to all of us. The LTI TX4 is an internationally recognised and iconic symbol of London, and to put an entirely new fuel cell hybrid electric zero emissions ‘engine’ into the existing vehicle design in such a short amount of time and still deliver performance, refuelling speeds and range, is a fantastic achievement for all the companies involved," explained Dr. Henri Winand, CEO at Intelligent Energy. "We now look towards the introduction of the first fleet of these vehicles into London for 2012. The launch today at City Hall demonstrates that we are well on course to achieving this goal."