Meet the team: Operations manager Jim, shares his thoughts on managing the hydrogen taxi fleet

We asked Jim, our operations manager, for his thoughts on managing the hydrogen taxi fleet. This is what he had to say…

“Hi, I’m Jim. I am responsible for running the fuel cell electric taxis from our base in north London, and for ensuring that they are in pristine condition to transport the Mayor of London and his VIP guests to and from events associated with the Olympic and Paralympics.

We’re now into the Paralympic phase and it’s fair to say that no two days have been the same. Of course, there are certain things that my team and I need to do each day, for example performing daily checks on the taxis, ensuring that they are fuelled and valeted, and preparing them for our guests. However by the very nature of the fact that these taxis are prototypes, I go to work each morning wondering what challenges the day will bring, and usually I am not disappointed! I have a great technical team behind me and together we have worked to deliver on all of the opportunities which have been sent our way.

This team includes people from Intelligent Energy’s fuel cell build, system engineering, test and validation, software engineering, technical support and programme management, to name but a few. We’re working closely with other companies too, including our HyTec partners (the London Taxi Company and Air Products), and suppliers including TRW Connekt and Lotus, to ensure that the taxis are running smoothly while in London.

The London Taxi Company in particular has given us great support in providing us with a base to work from and mechanical support where needed. And of course I also work closely with our brilliant team of taxi drivers, agreeing the schedule for each day and listening to their valuable feedback.

I’ve been really pleased with the way that the taxis have been performing while in London. We had already carried out various testing prior to the Olympic period and now we’re learning a lot about how the fuel-cell technology performs in a demanding, real-world environment. We have been driving around central London and out to the Olympic Park almost every day, taking VIP guests of the Greater London Authority to various business events and to the Games themselves.

Members of the GLA have also enjoyed rides in the taxi, including the Mayor himself, Boris Johnson, and deputy mayors Kit Malthouse, Sir Edward Lister and Munira Mirza. Boris and Kit in particular are very keen on the technology and we have heard them enthusiastically explaining the benefits of hydrogen and fuel cells to their guests.

I’m really enjoying my role as operations manager. It’s challenging of course, can sometimes be stressful, and has demanded long days but it’s also immensely satisfying to work with the prototype taxi fleet knowing that Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles could and should be the zero emissions taxis of the future.”

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