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Hydrogen fuel cell taxi fleet begins pre-launch trial

First displayed at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September, the vehicles are the result of a UK Government Technology Strategy Board funded consortium comprising of Intelligent Energy, Lotus Engineering, TRW Conekt and London Taxi International (LTI), aimed at developing a proposal for a production version.

Each vehicle is based on a conventional London taxi, donated by LTI, and uses a hydrogen fuel cell developed by Intelligent Energy to power an electric drive unit developed by Colorado-based UQM Technologies. Steering, braking and safety analysis was carried out by TRW Conekt.

Lotus Engineering packaged the drivetrain components to avoid losing passenger or luggage space, placing the hydrogen tank under the bonnet, fuel cell between the front seats and electric motor and battery under the passenger compartment and rear seat. The taxi offers  a 250-mile range and takes five minutes to refuel.

Eric Ridenour, UQM Technologies’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: ‘The demand for alternative propulsion technologies continues to expand globally. We are excited that our PowerPhase Pro 100 electric drive system was selected to power a fleet of iconic London taxicabs during the London 2012 Summer Olympics.

‘The rigorous performance requirements of these taxicabs highlight the durability and performance of UQM’s products in real-world settings. We have capacity to quickly increase production should more London taxicabs be converted to zero-emission propulsion systems.’

Alex Grant

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