A private taxi firm in London, Green Tomato Cars, now boasts Europe’s largest zero emission corporate fleet with more hydrogen powered vehicles added this month.
The 25 new Toyota Mirais (which means ‘Future’ in Japanese) deployed to Green Tomato will double the size of their hydrogen fleet, taking the total number of hydrogen vehicles to 50, and contribute to cleaner air and sustainable travel across the city. The vehicles use hydrogen fuel cell technology to deliver a range of 300 miles from a three-minute refuelling time and operate 24/7 in London and the surrounding area.
Hydrogen fuel reduces the environmental impact of journeys as it only emits water from the exhaust, no other fumes or emissions are produced when a fuel cell in the car converts the gas into electricity. There are currently six Hydrogen Refuelling Stations available in the London area; international standards ensure compatibility between refuelling stations and vehicles.
Green Tomato Cars, Europe’s first environmentally friendly car service, are part of a pan-European project to demonstrate viable business cases for fleets of fuel cell electric vehicles. ZEFER, part-funded by FCH JU, is a €26 million initiative that will introduce 180 of these vehicles into a combination of taxi, private-hire and police fleets across London, Brussels and Paris.
Air pollution presents a major threat to public health. The total mortality burden in London from poor air quality is equivalent to 9,416 deaths per year. The economic cost of these health impacts is estimated to be up to £3.7 billion.
Jonny Goldstone, founder and CEO of Green Tomato Cars, said: “We’ve been really impressed by the performance of our Mirai fleet since we rolled them out 18 months ago. With our operating experience, increasing driver familiarity with the technology, and improving refuelling infrastructure, it’s the perfect time to significantly increase our zero emission fleet. Our passengers love them because it means they can travel as responsibly as possible, and so do our drivers – running costs are comparable with a Prius and re-fuelling takes the same time as a conventional petrol car. They’re the ideal complement to our executive plug-in hybrid, standard hybrid and people carrier fleet – and we hope there will be more to come in the near future.”
Bart Biebuyck, FCH JU executive director, said: “Today, the air quality in cities is a central issue and the introduction of zero-emission vehicles is a needed shift to decarbonise urban transport. The fleet of 50 hydrogen fuel cell taxis operated by Green Tomato Cars in London is a flagship initiative showing that zero-emission solutions exist, do not change the way taxis are operating, and make economic sense. I trust that other cities in the UK and in Europe will soon realise the benefits of hydrogen mobility.”