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London debuts fuel cell-powered black cabs

London's iconic black cabs go green with fuel cells and electric motors, thanks to cleantech firm Intelligent Energy.
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Written by Andrew Nusca, Former editor on

If you have an affinity for dear old Albion and think nothing's a better match to your Pimm's and your Beefeater than a ride in the back of a London black cab, we've got news for you.

The first "green" black cabs -- by way of fuel cells -- have rolled out onto London streets.

The cabs, fully road legal, are made by global clean power systems company Intelligent Energy. (Hey, sounds like a great energy blog we know of.)

The project of course aims to deliver a fleet of the zero-emission taxis to the streets of London in time for the 2012 Olympics.

The company says the first round of green black cabs completed 8,000 miles in road and test track testing, and its electric motors had no issues in rush-hour traffic. (But, of course, they would say that, wouldn't they.)

The cabs have a range of 250 miles -- it's unclear whether that's enough for London's busy drivers -- and refuel "rapidly." Electric Cars Report notes that it can manage a top speed of just 81 m.p.h. and acceleration from 0 to 60 in a sluggish 14 seconds.

The black cabs are a highly visible manifestation of London mayor Boris Johnson's goals to make Britain an alternative fuel leader.

"These prototype zero-emission taxis are a shining example of British ingenuity, combining revolutionary fuel cell technology with an iconic design classic," Johnson said in a statement. "This marks an important milestone in my goal to create a cleaner cab fleet."

The black cabs were developed by a consortium that included Lotus Engineering, London Taxis International and TRW Conekt with funding from the UK Government's Technology Strategy Board.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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