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28 March 2011 | PR 11/36

Road Legal Fuel Cell Black Cabs Make First Appearance on London’s Roads

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London Mayor Boris Johnson Urges Accelerated Development of “Revolutionary” Zero Emission Taxis

Intelligent Energy, the global clean power systems company that was originally a spin-out from Loughborough University, has announced that the Fuel Cell Black Cabs have taken to the roads of London for the first time since being awarded Road Legal status by the UK Vehicle Certification Authority (VCA). At an event on 22nd March 2011, one of the Intelligent Energy powered taxis travelled from Forbes House, headquarters of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and the taxi’s base for the day, to some of London’s most iconic landmarks.

The project to deliver a fleet of the zero emission taxis to the streets of London in time for 2012 is on track, with the first Fuel Cell Black Cabs covering a combined total of over 8,000 miles in road and test track testing conditions. During its first tour of London’s roads, one of the Fuel Cell Black Cabs excelled in rush-hour traffic, with smooth and responsive acceleration provided by the fuel cell and electric motors.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, wants to make Britain a leader in fuel cell technology and has already announced plans to increase hydrogen refuelling stations around the capital. He said, “These prototype zero emission taxis are a shining example of British ingenuity, combining revolutionary fuel cell technology with an iconic design classic. This marks an important milestone in my goal to create a cleaner cab fleet, firstly through introduction of the first ever age limits moving towards zero-emission vehicles as they come to market. Affordable and low polluting cabs are within our grasp and I urge manufacturers to accelerate efforts to produce them.”

The zero emission taxis have been developed by a consortium, led by Intelligent Energy, which includes Lotus Engineering, London Taxis International and TRW Conekt with part-funding from the UK Government’s Technology Strategy Board. The fuel cell and battery powered hybrid taxi provides a 250 mile driving range with rapid refuelling, all within the confines of the body of a conventional London taxi. Now that fully functional, validated, proven vehicles have been produced, the consortium plans to push ahead with the delivery of a fleet to London in time for 2012.

“The Fuel Cell Black Cabs are now road proven with thousands of miles of operation. Indeed, many people may have seen them as they have been driven around various parts of the UK, but we are now happy to formally announce their road legal status and that you will be seeing more of them in the coming months,” noted Dr. Henri Winand, Chief Executive of Intelligent Energy. “At a time when London will soon be demonstrating its commitment to excellence in the sporting arena, we are proud to show that the UK can also deliver world-leading zero emissions, fuel cell electric vehicle technology that will make a real difference both to lowering carbon emissions and improving air quality.”

“This highly successful launch marks yet another critical milestone for Intelligent Energy, reinforcing its preeminent position in fuel cell and hydrogen generation technologies,” said Professor Phill Dickens, Loughborough University’s Pro Vice Chancellor (Enterprise).  He concluded:  “From the company’s origins in ground breaking transport and chemistry research in the late 1980s to its current status as a leading company employing 180 people worldwide, the University is immensely proud of Intelligent Energy’s achievements.”

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

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

Notes for editors:

  1. Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said: "Green vehicles are taking to the streets in a big way. High petrol prices and the desire to clean up our air quality make them the smart choice. The zero emissions London taxi looks and performs just like a conventional taxi, even over long distances. It's a great British innovation and I look forward to seeing them in service in London next year.”

  2. Paul Everitt, Chief Executive of SMMT, said: “The UK is at the heart of the global low carbon industry and is a leader for research and development into new technologies. Over the coming years the low carbon sector is set to become increasingly important for manufacturers and motorists. The Fuel Cell Black Cab is a terrific example of British engineering skills and pioneering innovation.”

  3. Intelligent Energy (http://www.intelligent-energy.com) 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. 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. The company’s global headquarters is based on Loughborough University’s Science and Enterprise Park.

  4. 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 achievement in sport 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 2010 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top 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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