London Olympics High On Hydrogen

Cammy Corrigan
by Cammy Corrigan
london olympics high on hydrogen

The London 2012 Olympics promise to be a “low Carbon” affair. The London games will have everything from a low carbon Olympic flame to official energy provider EDF providing 24MW of energy from renewable resources. Even the official Olympic fleet is getting in on the “low carbon” act. What else is there to do? Right: The humble British Black Cab is getting the “low carbon” treatment. It’s coming from a source that had already been written off: Hydrogen.

The Guardian reports that a new Black Taxi Cab is being developed with the hope of being ready for road trials by 2012. The Black Cab will look exactly the same as the normal diesel cabs, but underneath hides a hydrogen power train developed by Lotus.

A drag racer it will be not: The fuel cell taxi can go to a top speed of 81mph, go from 0-60mph in 14 seconds and get about 250 miles on a full tank of hydrogen. “The intent is to take the taxis and retrofit a powertrain that has zero tailpipe emissions,” said Henri Winand of Intelligent Energy, the company making the fuel cells for these taxis. “But also it has to deliver some very important things: a reasonable range, very quick refueling time and no modifying the passenger or driver space.”

London’s deputy mayor, Kit Malthouse aims to have 6 hydrogen filling stations in London by 2012 to help the deployment of these taxis. He wants 20-50 fuel cell taxis in operation as well as 150 hydrogen powered buses. Lotus is very proud of this project. “There is a global drive to reduce CO2 emission levels and this is something we are dedicated to, for both Lotus cars and our engineering clients,” said Simon Wood of Lotus Engineering. “The fuel cell hybrid taxi is a fantastic achievement for all the companies involved. The level of quality and professionalism that has been demonstrated is extremely high and the taxi is already running through a series of tests.” Looks like the air quality of London, by 2012 will be high. Just like the budget of the Olympics.

The taxis seem to be a low carbon-copy of a previous Olympic exercise: Beijing had 20 hydrogen-powered cars on its roads in 2008. After the games were over, nothing was ever heard or seen of them. Also, apart from the often cited logistic challenges of a hydrogen infrastructure, the gas has a dirty little secret: Currently, it is most frequently made from methane or other fossil fuels.

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  • Porschespeed Porschespeed on Feb 23, 2010

    Beyond the whole silliness of obtaining massive amounts of hydrogen from natural gas, the real problem isn't the infrastructure, it's the environmental impact of hydrogen. The tiny leakage of refueling millions of hydrogen vehicles everyday is not the best idea - hydrogen is an indirect greenhouse gas. So, we would lose some tailpipe emissions, use a bunch of natural gas, and best of all, not have any positive effect on greenhouse gas levels. Brilliant!

  • 1996MEdition 1996MEdition on Feb 23, 2010

    All gasses in the atmosphere absorb and retain energy, some more than others, nuff said. Burning hydrogen in itself has no carbon carbon (2H2 + O2 = 2H2O) Maybe we can ask the athletes to reduce their level of performance so that they do not exhale as much CO2.....lunacy

  • SCE to AUX I charge at home 99% of the time, on a Level 2 charger I installed myself in 2012 for my Leaf. My house is 1967, 150-Amp service, gas dryer and furnace; everything else is electric with no problems. I switched from gas HW to electric HW last year, when my 18-year-old tank finally failed.I charge at a for-pay station maybe a couple times a year.I don't travel more than an hour each way in my Ioniq 1 EV, so I don't deal much with public chargers. Despite a big electric rate increase this year, my car remains ridiculously cheap to operate.
  • ToolGuy 38:25 to 45:40 -- Let's all wait around for the stupid ugly helicopter. 😉The wheels and tires are cool, as in a) carbon fiber is a structural element not decoration and b) they have some sidewall.Also like the automatic fuel adjustment (gasoline vs. ethanol).(Anyone know why it's more powerful on E85? Huh? Huh?)
  • Ja-GTI So, seems like you have to own a house before you can own a BEV.
  • Kwik_Shift Good thing for fossil fuels to keep the EVs going.
  • Carlson Fan Meh, never cared for this car because I was never a big fan of the Gen 1 Camaro. The Gen 1 Firebird looked better inside and out and you could get it with the 400.The Gen 2 for my eyes was peak Camaro as far as styling w/those sexy split bumpers! They should have modeled the 6th Gen after that.