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London Mayor Boris Johnson Reverses Position on Hydrogen Cars

In April 2008, I had talked about how the University of Birmingham, UK was building the country’s only active hydrogen fueling station. The London station had been dismantled a few years earlier. The Birmingham hydrogen fueling station would support a few microcabs and presumably some of the 70 Honda FCVs that London had ordered as police vehicles.

And, then in September 2008 I talked about how the University of Birmingham, UK was to receive 5 fuel cell Microcabs. I also mentioned how London Major Boris Johnson had cancelled an order for 60 hydrogen powered cars.

Today, it seems that the good mayor has made a reversal of his decision in that he would like to assemble 150 hydrogen cars and 6 hydrogen fueling stations around London in the run up to the 2012 Olympics. This hydrogen highway system around London and beyond would emulate the system started in California.

Five hydrogen powered buses and 20 hydrogen-powered black taxis will also be part of the clean fuel agenda. In addition, Major Johnson has committed to bring onboard electric cars and wire the city with 25,000 recharging stations.

The mayor believes that within 20 years, one in three British cars (about 10 million out of 31 million) will be powered by hydrogen. Now, why is the good major reversing his position?

One reason may be to help his country conform to the Kyoto protocol. Another reason would be the same as the Chinese at their 2008 Olympics which is to show the world how green their city is becoming. Another reason could be similar political pressure the Obama administration has faced when Congress decided to reinstate the hydrogen budget that had been slashed.

No matter the reason, it’s good to see that top political leaders are taking another serious look at hydrogen vehicles as a way to reduce emissions and reduce reliance on foreign fuels (and create well-paying green jobs).

About Hydro Kevin Kantola

Hydro Kevin Kantola
I'm a hydrogen car blogger, editor and publisher interested in documenting the history and the progression of hydrogen cars, vehicles and infrastructure worldwide.

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  1. Don’t know if you watch what comes up on at all, but there is a piece that says essentially that Honda has finally jumped on the plug-in band wagon.

    The law of diminishing returns says that bigger batteries are probably a losing proposition and yet, especially here in the U.S., we hear more about plug in cars
    than we do about hydrogen cars. Is Honda really going to bother trying to produce and sell a plug-in electric car when it has the incredible FCX Clarity? Is this the Honda that said it will be easier to commercialize fuel cell cars than it will be to commercialize battery electric vehicles? Maybe Honda is trying to capitalize on the high cost of “green” plug-in hybrids. Somehow a 40 mile electric range does not make a car green in my opinion when fuel cell cars can go 150+ miles on cleanly produced electricity.

    Anyways, what is the story with Honda? Why is Toyota supporting battery electric vehicles when it has the best fuel cell SUV on the face of the earth?
    Will the push for plug-in cars ever go away?

  2. admin

    Plug-in hybrid, I think, are here to stay. GM has already unveiled a hydrogen version of the Chevy Volt.

    Several other manufacturers such as Ford have also unveiled hydrogen plug-in hybrid prototypes.

    I think combining the two technologies is a good idea. It will give a longer range than an all electric car, and a high MPG, which means fewer hydrogen fueling stations will have to be built.

  3. Well, with compressed hydrogen tanks the amount of battery in the Chevy Volt fuel cell vehicle is significantly less than the amount that is in the gas/electric Volt. The Chevy Volt hydrogen like the gas version gets most of it’s range from
    the fuel and not the expensive battery.

    What about hydrnol? Asemblon claims that hydrnol will cost less than compressed hydrogen gas and not require special pressure tanks. Asemblon
    says that the shape of tanks that store hydrnol with a dual bladder can be made
    to fit the car better. I am not sure if hydrnol right now can be used with fuel cells,
    that isn’t in the FAQ.

    Asemblon is a Washington based company.

    Saying that hydrogen cars will run on compressed hydrogen gas ignores the work of Asemblon and frankly I am concerned that advocates for hydrogen look at all methods for storing, producing, and delivering it.

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