London saw the introduction of hydrogen-fuelled taxis but they are having to be carried to Swindon in order for them to be filled up. The journey is a total of 130 miles to and from Swindon and kind of defeats the purpose of being‘green’. There are a total of three low-emission cabs being used and they are specifically designed to carry VIPs and officials.
The problem is, the fuelling station located near the Olympic Park has been closed, apparently over fears relating to security. HYTEC are the company responsible for creating the taxis and claim that another station will open at Heathrow. Until then, the cabs are placed on a transporter and brought to Swindon where Honda have a plant. This is yet another example of wastefulness as London attempts to pander to the elite while also presenting a faux-green face.
One of HYTEC’s co-ordinators, Diana Raine, said that there are fuel cell taxis powered by electricity operating in London at this moment in time and there is currently a two year project being run which is designed to develop their hydrogen technology. She admitted that a fuelling site in Swindon is being used until one opens in Heathrow. She hopes that this new station at the city’s largest airport will be open before the end of the Olympic Games. Until then, the wasteful and preposterous journey to the station in Swindon will continue to be undertaken.
According to Richard Kemp-Harper, who works for the Technology Strategy Board, a body run by the government, this lamentable situation is only short-term. He said that water is produced out of the tail pipes of these cabs and they also showcase British Technology to the rest of the world. He predictably defended the constant trips to Swindon by saying that the overall lower emissions and improved air quality more than compensate for the emissions produced by the transporters to Swindon. The station in Swindon was opened in September 2011 and was the first hydrogen filling station opened the UK for commercial purposes. If HYTEC and their ilk want their hydrogen cars to work, they better start opening more refuelling spots around the UK.