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Collaboration Targeting Fleet of 50-100 Hydrogen Fuel Cell London Taxis by 2012

A collaboration led by hydrogen fuel cell developer Intelligent Energy, and including Lotus Engineering Ltd, LTI (London Taxis International) Ltd and TRW Conekt, will produce a fleet of classic London cabs fitted out with hydrogen fuel cell power systems.

The program is part of the UK government’s Technology Strategy Board recent allocation of funding of £23 million for 16 innovative low carbon vehicle development programs. (Earlier post.) The London TaxiNew project plans to put the hydrogen taxis on streets of London in time for the 2012 Olympics.

The taxis, with a top speed of 75 mpg, will use a fuel-cell hybrid powertrain. The fuel cell system will be able to function at temperatures as low as -20°C, and will fit in the space allotted to the engine in the current LTI TX4 taxi design.

Under the terms of the project, Intelligent Energy will test and optimize the fuel cell systems. It will develop a durable and dependable fuel cell engine providing power output of >25kW, that will be capable of providing reliable power to a fleet of 50-100 vehicles for 2012.

Lotus will work with Intelligent Energy to package the components of the fuel cell drive system and to build control systems that optimize the performance of the fuel cells and electrical drive systems. Lotus will test a range of vehicle operating systems, such as refuelling, hot and cold start performance and durability testing on a simulated London taxi duty cycle.

TRW Conekt will lead the safety analysis program, including braking and steering systems. TRW Conekt will also be involved in other activities such as testing vehicle controls, electrics and electronics.

LTI will provide donor vehicles and assist with structural modifications to the chassis of the taxis.


I want one ... 'Guv-nuh!'


They would be better off investing in EVs, PHEVs, HEVs,
or even CNG vehicles.

Cities like London are not polluted by CO2, they are polluted by NOx, particulates, Co, HC etc. etc. - all the "old fashioned" pollutants we used to worry about.
CO2 should be dealt with at a national/international level - the rest at a city level.

The larger the city, the more important it is.

They should encourage all stop/start motoring to go electric or partially electric from an air quality rather than a CO2 point of view. (And perhaps fuel consumption).


Yeah baby!! This is so Austin Powers.


People are still trying to waste money on hydrogen.
That is funny. What a waste.


phev then in a decade the transition to ev


The fuel cell in the end will win out on most ev cars for the same reason dvs killed the video tape...

It will get cheaper smaller lighter more powerful longer lasting and longer running then a bev.

Y personaly am more interested ub the interesting mid term cars that combine several of these techs together.

John Taylor

Converting electricity to hydrogen, then reconverting the hydrogen to electricity to drive the car ... is wasteful.

It would be cheaper to just put in a larger Li battery pack and achieve 400 km or more in city cabs.


Top speed of 75 mpg.


Taylor the pack needed to make a car travel that far is HEAVY and BIG and spendy and better used in erevs.

As die wasteful... by the rime we are dealing with all that many electric cars the fuel cell itself should be 70-80 eff and the electrolysis is already 85 eff... Not to shabby. And again a fc car will outrange and have more room and be lighter and in the end cheaper then a bev of 400km range or even one of 200km range.


It's probably a good idea to build a fleet of FC taxis, run them hard and see how they do. It'll be interesting to see the cost of materials curves between FCs and batteries. And it'll be helpful to see how they address the refueling issues.

Dagny McKinley

At least they are thinking change. Isn't that a good think?

Dagny McKinley
organic apparel


make it a real test and put in a set of taxis powered by A123 batteries to compare the fuel cells against.. I bet the batteries will be MUCH cheaper.

I have a cousin that drives a taxi, they spend quite a bit of money replacing starters and brakes.. an electric would help with that.


The point is to move all these electric techs forward so they have bev fleets and erev fleets and dc fleets and h2 ice fleets.

Its likely always going to be best to go cev on short run cars and fcev on long range ones. Just as its garanteed suvs and light work trucks will be fcev/h2 ice.

Looking back you see fuel cells have changed massively in just a few short years. In ten years we realy could be looking at a fc small enough to fit in a motorcycle with the power of a v8 and the range of a twin tank touring car.

tom deplume

Fuel Cells have been under development for over 50 years and have yet to solve the problems of power density (in both space and weight) as well as efficient storage of H2. The addition of reformers, etc make them even more complex as microturbines with none of the microturbine's advantages. Capstone has a successful product already on the market which have given years of very good service at a much better price than any H2 fuel cell.

Harvey D

Would a PHEV with a smaller (10 KWh battery pack) + a small (10 to 20 KWH) efficient Methanol or Ethanol fuel cell, as a range extender, be a better vehicle for taxis?

Those taxis could get frequent quick charges (for their batteries) at regular taxi parkings or at commercial stations.


You make too much sense Harvey..

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