HYDROGEN-POWERED London taxis are currently being tested and should be ready for general use within two years, in time for the 2012 Olympics.
Unlike traditional diesel cabs, the new hydrogen-fuel cell models pump out no carbon, so are seen as a major development in the battle against the Climate Change Monster. The new cabs will look exactly the same as the ones we have now, but probably won’t smell as bad.
“The fuel cell hybrid taxi is a fantastic achievement,” said Simon Wood of Lotus Engineering, one of the companies involved in the cab’s development.
Lotus and co-developers Intelligent Engineering reckon they’ve cracked the performance problem often associated with green-tech cars. The hydrogen cabs being tested have a top speed of 81mph, can shift from 0-60mph in 14 seconds and have a range of 250 miles on one tank.
Taxis are seen as an ideal stepping stone to overcome another often-mentioned problem – the where-can-we-fill’er-up? one.
“With fleets you can deploy a little infrastructure, which you can build up with the more fleets you have, rather than going straight to consumers who might be wondering where the next filling station is,” Intelligent Engineering’s Henri Winand told The Guardian.
The target is to have 50 of the new cabs on our streets by 2012. It’s fair to say that’s a tiny fraction of London’s taxis – less than 0.25% by our reckoning – but you’ve got to start somewhere, as the cabbie said to the punter.