Hydrogen fuel cell taxis will be on London's roads in time for the 2012 Olympic games, the consortium behind the fleet has confirmed.
The fuel cell powered vehicles will include batteries to allow them to operate as hybrid vehicles for a day without refueling. Drivers of the iconic TX4 black cabs will be able to refuel in a few minutes using hydrogen depots situated around central London.
Intelligent Energy, the leader of the consortium, says that the new cabs will be capable of achieving speeds of up to 75 miles per hour and faster acceleration than standard taxis, despite being emission-free. They will be able to operate in temperatures as low as -20°C.
"The black cab is an internationally recognised and iconic symbol of London," said Intelligent Energy's Henri Winand. "What better stage to prove the credentials of British innovation than on the way to the 2012 London Olympics?"
Intelligent Energy plans to develop technology to power between 50 and 100 of London's 21,000 black taxis. In December, South Korea's capital Seoul announced that it would begin tests of LPG taxis in an attempt to ease pollution in the city, whilst an estimated 15 percent of New York's 21,227-strong yellow cab fleet is made up of hybrid vehicles.