London’s new fleet of five hydrogen fuel cell powered taxis provided by the HyTEC (Hydrogen Transport for European Cities) project have now driven 2,500 miles in total, fuelled by London’s second hydrogen fuelling station at Heathrow airport.
The first phase of the HyTEC project saw the pioneering fleet of fuel cell electric London Taxis, which were developed by the UK power technology company Intelligent Energy and The London Taxi Company, transport 40 visiting dignitaries and the VIP guests of the Greater London Authority during the Olympic and Paralympic period. High-profile individuals included Arnold Schwarzenegger and Barbara Windsor, with some VIPs undertaking more than one journey in the fuel cell electric taxis. Members of the GLA including Mayor Boris Johnson and Deputy Mayors Kit Malthouse, Munira Mirza and Sir Edward Lister also had the opportunity to ride in the cabs.
Fuel cell electric vehicles, fuelled by hydrogen provide the same range, performance and fuelling time as conventional internal combustion engine vehicles with the added benefit of zero emissions at the point of use.
The Heathrow Airport hydrogen fuelling station is an exciting addition to the developing London hydrogen network and will ultimately connect up with the Lea Interchange fuelling station already in operation in the city, supporting London’s hydrogen bus fleet and adding to the vital infrastructure powering hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles across the UK. The vehicles and refuelling site form part of the Mayor’s vision to promote innovative zero and low emission technologies in the capital to clean London’s air and tackle pollution. London already boasts the UK’s only zero-emission bus route running with a fleet of five hydrogen buses.
Diana Raine, HyTEC Project Coordinator and European Business Manager, Hydrogen Energy Systems at Air Products said, “It has been very satisfying to see the hydrogen taxis completing such a successful trial during the Olympics and Paralympics. We have shown to Londoners that it is possible to run a fleet of fuel-cell electric taxis in the capital with zero local emissions and providing cleaner air for London and Londoners.”
Taxi driver Phil Davis, with over 30 years experience of driving conventional London Taxis commented, “It has been a terrific experience to drive these hydrogen powered taxis. We have had nothing but compliments from our passengers and many people have expressed surprise at how smooth, quick and quiet the cabs are.”
This industry-led project utilises the hydrogen transport experience and knowledge of 16 companies at the forefront of development of hydrogen technology and infrastructure. In an effort to understand the best methods for rolling out hydrogen transport in European cities, this international initiative will also install a network of fuelling stations will also be deployed in Copenhagen, Denmark.