Fuel Cell Plug-in Hybrid Taxi Unveiled at London’s City Hall
7 June 2010
|Overall vehicle package. Source: Intelligent Energy. Click to enlarge.|
Intelligent Energy, Lotus Engineering, LTI Vehicles and TRW Conekt, with funding from the UK Government’s Technology Strategy Board, unveiled a full performance, zero-emissions Fuel Cell Hybrid London taxi. (Earlier post.)
The Fuel Cell Black Cab uses an Intelligent Energy fuel cell (30 kW net output) as a range extender for the 14 kWh lithium polymer battery pack, allowing the vehicle to operate for a full day without the need for refuelling. Powered by a 100 kW (peak), 55 kW (continuous) motor, the cab is capable of achieving a top speed of 81 mph (130 km/h) and has a range of more than 250 miles (402 km) on a full tank of hydrogen. Acceleration from 0-30 mph takes 4.5 seconds; acceleration from 0-60 mph takes 14 seconds.
|IE’s Fuel cell taxi system offers 58% efficiency. Click to enlarge.||Vehicle system. Click to enlarge.|
Intelligent Energy’s fuel cells feature metallic plate construction, and are designed for low-cost mass manufacture. They offer high power density and rapid sub-zero start-up. Evaporative cooling helps reduce the balance of plant required.
The compressed hydrogen tanks (3.7 kg @ 35 MPa), refuel in less than five minutes. Supported operational temperature range is -18 °C to +37 °C (-0.4 °F to +98.6 °F).
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.
—London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Chair of the London Hydrogen Partnership, Kit Malthouse
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.
|Intelligent Energy CEO, Dr. Henri Winand with London Deputy Mayor, Kit Malthouse, at unveiling of Fuel Cell Black Cab at City Hall. Click to enlarge.|
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 optimize performance of both the fuel cells and electric drive systems. TRW Conekt led the safety analysis program, 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 Hybrid Taxi is presently undergoing track and road-testing prior to wider deployment. The vehicle will also need to meet the London Public Carriage Office conformity for use as taxi on public roads.
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