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Olympic farce of ‘green’ taxis

2012-08-10 09:40

BLACK CABS IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Britain's dream of hosting an environmentally-friendly Olympic Games has been dealt a blow after news that hydrogen taxis were transported 210km by truck to be refuelled.

Britain’s environmental Olympic effort has been called out after hydrogen taxis tasked with ferrying hundreds of VIPs had to be transported 210km – by truck – for refuelling.

There’s been outrage from the sidelines of the 2012 London Olympics, the London Daily Mail reported, after it emerged three low-emission hydrogen taxis were transported by truck to refuel.


The black cabs were sent on the 209km round trip to Swindon because the fuelling at the local Olympic Park had been closed for “security reasons”.

And while a new fuel station was recently opened at Heathrow airport, until then the cars had to be loaded onto a transporter and driven to the nearest station – at Honda’s Swindon plant – for refuelling.

Speaking for the Hydrogen Transport for European Cities project (HYTEC), the consortium behind the idea, Diana Raine said: “The fuelling at Swindon was a one-off. The new fuelling station at Heathrow is now operational and the taxis have today been fuelled and driven into central London to pick up the Olympic VIPs, as part of a three-year project to develop hydrogen technology.”


Richard Kemp-Harper, the lead technologist looking at transport and energy for the UK government-run Technology Strategy Board said the scheme was aimed at demonstrating that hydrogen-fuelled low-emission vehicles could be used more widely in future and that the fuelling difficulties were “short term”.

“The benefits for those taxis,” Kemp-Harper said, “apart from showing off some great British technology to the rest of the world - is actually that they produce water out of their tail pipes,' he added.

“So the particulates and air quality - it's a big difference for London even if there's a small carbon problem with having to ship them up to Swindon to pick up hydrogen at the moment.”

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