On the streets of London drive the Hackney Carriages, commonly called Black Cabs. They are everywhere in the ancient burg. A recent study done by EcoVelocity has come out saying that road transportation accounts for 80% of Central London’s pollution and that the Black Cabs alone contribute 20%. The study also reached the conclusion that if the 22,000 Black Cabs were to go electric London would be saved from close to 4,000 tons of CO2 emissions every week.
London’s air quality has never been top notch and these striking figures have pushed the toxicity of London’s air back into the limelight. In December of 2010, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced a new “clean air” initiative to improve the city’s air quality. The new initiative introduced an age limit of 10 years for existing Black Cabs and 15 years for personal hire vehicles. EcoVelocity Director, Giles Brown, said:
Black Cabs are one of the most common vehicles to see on London’s roads so it’s not surprising that they contribute a large proportion of its pollution. The amazing figures we’ve uncovered with this study illustrate clearly what a huge difference can be made to our quality of life by making a change.
There has been a great deal of talk surrounding some form of green Black Cab for years. The manufacturer of the Black Cab, LTI, claimed to be working on an EV version of the famous vehicle back in 2008, however, the prototypes, called the TX4, never made it full time on the roads. In 2010 an electric Mercedes Benz Vito type cab was rumored to be in the works, yet nothing common place has happened with that project either.
As recently as April 2011 hydrogen fuel cell powered cabs were zipping around the streets of London courtesy of Intelligent Energy. Intelligent Energy has been given the task of making a zero emissions cab fleet for London’s streets by 2012. So far the project is on time and effective producing cabs that travel 250 miles (400 km) on a single charge and benefit from rapid refueling technology.
London has always been a city that is on the move and this time the move is towards the use of green technology in one of that city’s most iconic vehicles.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail.