2010 Lotus Fuel Cell Taxi Concept
A taxi concept for London by Lotus, it’s with zero emissions fuel cell hybrid system. London Mayor, Boris Johnson, wants all the city’s taxis to have zero emissions by 2020 and Lotus, along with the other project partners, is aiming to get an initial fleet of 20 such vehicles on the road for the Olympics in 2012.
Under the bonnet lies an enormous 154-litre tank filled with hydrogen. The fuel cell itself is located in the transmission tunnel where the gearbox would normally be, while the battery packs are mounted underneath the centre of the car, face down, so they’re easy to access for tinkering purposes. Finally, the electric motor sits on a new sub frame in between the rear wheels.
Flexible Lotus Fuel Cell Taxi Concept’s interior space as there would normally be, so passengers, luggage and wheelchairs can fit in just as easily. There’s a small LCD screen on the dash that displays the fuel cell’s vitals and tells you when it’s ready to start.
LTI, the manufacturer of the London taxi and a partner in the project, doesn’t quote an acceleration figure, but the instant torque from the electric motor, combined with the fuel cell’s power, shaves around three or four seconds off the 0-62mph time. You’re still looking at about 15 seconds, but that’s enough to smoke rival cabbies at the lights. The fuel cell produces 30kW (40bhp), while the electric motor kicks out 55kW (74bhp) on average and has a 100kW (134bhp) peak.
Filling up with hydrogen is no more difficult or lengthy than usual, but the snag, for the moment, is a complete lack of filling stations that supply it. That will change though, as London is scheduled to have six operational hydrogen fuel forecourts by the time the first fleet of fuel cell cabs goes live in 2012 and more will undoubtedly follow.
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Resource images by PhotoCarSpeed