Fuel cell London Taxis in use for the Olympic games are being shipped to Swindon, Wiltshire in the western UK, for refueling, amid security concerns in London.
The cabs are loaded onto diesel car transporters and driven to Honda UK’s facilities for refueling, before being driven back and off-loaded, a round trip of 130 miles. Initially it had been planned to use a hydrogen refueling station close to the site of the games at Olympic Park in London, however, that facility has now been closed because of security concerns.
As a result, the Swindon facility in South Marston is now the closest station to London and the games. Nick Rolf, innovation manager for hydrogen systems at gas conglomerate BOC, which operates the South Marston station, recently said in reference to the cabs, “they are going to fill up twice this week, on Tuesday and Thursday or Friday. Our understanding is that they are not driving; they are coming on the back of a transporter. If they drive to Swindon they’re not going to have any fuel left by the time they get back.”
However, considering the amount of diesel fuel required by the trucks that transport the taxis to Swindon and back, some are questioning the expense and need for employing the hydrogen cabs on shuttle duties at all, especially since London already has thousands of diesel powered Hackney Carriages and many cabbies are struggling to find fares during the games, due to route restrictions and a simple lack of customers.