Cleaner Air for London

You’ve probably seen the phrase “Cleaner Air for London” on the side of our five fuel cell electric taxis, either here on the blog or out on the streets of London, so we wanted to give you a little more information about air quality and why the move to zero emission transport is so important.

Our aim is to demonstrate what could be achieved if zero emission hydrogen fuel cell technologies powered the entire London taxi fleet – that’s 23,000 taxis. Although taxis account for just one percent of all public transport journeys within the capital, they are responsible for a massive 25 percent of all particulate (PM10) emissions.

Particulates are very small particles (of soot and other combustion compounds) which contribute to air pollution and can harm the body when inhaled. So it’s clear that the more we can reduce to reduce the amount of particulates, the better our environment and health will be.

We all know that air pollution is a big issue, especially in big cities, but you might not be aware of a recent House of Commons report on air quality that estimated air pollution could contribute to as many as 50,000 deaths in the UK each year.

In London, the first city to see our fuel cell electric taxis in action, around 4,300 deaths per year are partly caused by long-term exposure to air pollution. Let’s also not forget the economic cost of poor air quality, which the UK Government estimates is around £15 billion for the nation, and as much as £2 billion a year for London alone.

The good news is that replacing all 23,000 London taxis with zero emission alternatives would reduce annual CO2 emissions and dramatically reduce particulate emissions by 25 percent. It would bring about a huge improvement in air quality, benefitting all those living, working and travelling through London.

This transition to cleaner electric vehicles is already taking place in other many cities around the world. It’s time for London to make the change, and with the help of the Greater London Authority and our other partners in the HyTEC programme, this is becoming a reality.

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