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9 June 2010 | PR10/93

Zero emissions fuel cell hybrid taxi unveiled at London’s City Hall


(L-R) Dr Henri Winand, CEO Intelligent Energy with Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor of London for Policing and Chair of the London Hydrogen Partnership

Black Cabs Go Green; vehicles being readied for 2012

A full performance, zero-emissions Fuel Cell Hybrid London taxi was unveiled on 7 June at London's City Hall, powered by leading fuel cell technology from Intelligent Energy.  The Company, which was originally a spin-out from Loughborough University, joined forces with Lotus Engineering, LTI Vehicles and TRW Conekt to produce the ground-breaking vehicle, with funding provided by the Technology Strategy Board.

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.”


For all media enquiries contact:

Anna Seddon
Marketing Manager Enterprise
Loughborough University
T: 01509 223445
E: A.J.Seddon@lboro.ac.uk 

James Kennedy
AxiCom PR for Intelligent Energy
T: 0208 392 4091
E:  james.kennedy@axicom.com

Notes for editors:

The Fuel Cell Hybrid Taxi unveiled today is not yet commercially available and 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.
The Technology Strategy Board’s Lead Technologist for Low Carbon Vehicles, Andrew Everett said, “This is a great demonstration of the way that the Technology Strategy Board helps business to be innovative. In providing just under £5.5M towards a programme to develop and embed fuel cell hybrid technology into the London Black Cab we have helped the consortia take steps towards applying this new technology into new markets.”

About Intelligent Energy
Intelligent Energy is a clean power systems company, with a range of leading fuel cell and hydrogen generation technologies. The company is focused on the provision of cleaner power and low carbon technologies. It employs 150 people worldwide and is headquartered at Holywell Park on Loughborough University’s Science and Enterprise Park.

The company is focused on the provision of cleaner power and low carbon technologies. Intelligent Energy partners with leading companies globally, in the transportation, oil and gas, aerospace, defence, distributed generation and portable power markets. Current partners and customers include Scottish & Southern Energy plc with whom the company has formed a joint venture to commercialise fuel cell combined heat and power (CHP) systems, and The Suzuki Motor Corporation. Intelligent Energy’s successes in recent years include the development of the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell motorbike and supplying the fuel cell system to Boeing which powered the world’s first manned fuel cell aircraft. The company also recently supplied Airbus with a multi-functional fuel cell auxiliary power unit (APU) aimed at on-board power and other loads in future commercial airliners.

About Lotus
The main operating subsidiary of Group Lotus plc is Lotus Cars Limited, which has two operating divisions - Lotus Engineering and Lotus Cars. Lotus Engineering is an internationally recognised automotive engineering consultancy based in Norfolk, UK. Global facilities include those in Michigan (USA), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), China and offices in Germany and Japan.

Lotus Engineering provides comprehensive and versatile consultancy services to many of the world's OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, offering a full engineering service from initial concept and project design through development and integration of the complete vehicle to meet all worldwide market and customer requirements to full production. This includes third party 'niche vehicle' engineering and manufacture. http://www.grouplotus.com/engineering/home.html

About Technology Strategy Board
The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led executive non-departmental public body, established by the government. Its role is to promote and support research into, and development and exploitation of, technology and innovation for the benefit of UK business, in order to increase economic growth and improve the quality of life. It is sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS). For more information please visit www.innovateuk.org.  

About London Taxis International
LTI Vehicles is Britain's premier manufacturer of purpose-built taxis, including the 'black cab', the icon of the world's best taxi system. Part of Manganese Bronze, LTI built the first black cab at its Coventry manufacturing plant in 1948. Since then, more than 100,000 vehicles have rolled off the production line and can now be seen in large numbers on the streets of London and around the world.

LTI pride themselves on the robust design of the hand-built vehicles, which are renowned for their longevity and ability to cover hundreds of thousands of miles during a lifetime of use. LTI continues to invest significantly in developing the best purpose-built taxis. http://www.lti.co.uk/home.php

About the London Hydrogen Partnership

The London Hydrogen Partnership, chaired by Kit Malthouse, recently published an action plan detailing ways to help accelerate the wider use of this zero-polluting, zero-carbon energy in the capital. This includes plans to create a ‘Hydrogen network’ by 2012, by working with London boroughs and private landowners to deliver at least six refuelling sites to run hydrogen-powered vehicles in the capital over the next two years. One is already being built in east London for the refuelling of the five hydrogen-fuelled buses that will begin running on London's RV1 route later this year. Hydrogen vehicles emit no pollution from their tailpipes and vehicles which use hydrogen from renewable sources have no emissions at all. This could deliver huge benefits for cities in improving air quality, cutting carbon emissions and reducing dependence on fossil fuels. The action plan also aims to encourage a minimum of 150 hydrogen-powered vehicles on the road in London by 2012. These could include cars, vans, taxis, motorbikes, and lorries. Fifty of the vehicles are expected to be operated by the Greater London Authority’s functional bodies – Transport for London (TfL); the London Development Agency (LDA); the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA); and the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA). www.london.gov.uk/media/press_releases_mayoral/london%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98hydrogen-network%E2%80%99-plans-unveiled  

About Loughborough University
Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2009 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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