Breath of fresh air for Paris as Hyundai provides hydrogen taxi fleet

Image of James Kelly
Author: | Updated: 14 Nov 2016 10:43

Think of Paris and you’ll no doubt conjure up images of the iconic Eiffel Tower, or perhaps the famed Moulin Rouge. However, these days the French capital is ever-more frequently cited for its worryingly high levels of air pollution.

In a new step to reduce the amount of sulphur-spewing diesels on the city’s streets, the mayor has banished the most polluting vehicles from the centre during the week. But what about the 17,000-strong taxi fleet that still have to ply their trade on the Grands Boulevards?

Well, today Hyundai will hand over 60 ix35 Fuel Cell hydrogen cars to a Paris-based electric taxi start-up STEP, in a bid to help clean up the industry, and the city’s air. Paris already has the largest fuel cell taxi fleet in service, with five ix35 being delivered last year.

The Hyundai ix35 is one of the few fuel cell hydrogen cars on the market.

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However, these additional 60 cabs are just the beginning, with plans afoot for several hundred hydrogen taxis to be in service within five years. The hydrogen crossovers are to replace petrol and diesel-powered taxis, and should cut emissions created in the city by a whopping 800 tonnes of CO2 each year.

To put that in perspective, it equates one plane making more than 200 return flights from between Frankfurt and New York. In contrast to this, the only emissions from the tailpipe of the ix35 Fuel Cell during driving are water vapour.

What is it like to drive a hydrogen car?

Hyundai ix35, Eiffel Tower.

Hydrogen Hyundai becomes a record-breaker

Thomas A. Schmid, Hyundai Europe’s COO, said: “STEP and Hyundai Motor have committed to bring 60 additional ix35 Fuel Cell taxis to the streets of Paris, not only will the fuel cell taxis provide a clean transportation solution for the city, they are also a practical, comfortable and reliable choice for drivers and passengers.”

Hydrogen is a far cleaner energy than any fossil fuel: for equal distance travelled, hydrogen cars reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared with internal combustion vehicles and do not produce any fine particles.

Will hydrogen fuel taxis ever come to London?

Is hydrogen the long-term winner in the alternative fuel arms race?

There’s no doubt that its 369-mile range makes the ix35 Fuel Cell more usable taxi than many conventional plug-in electric vehicles. It certainly looks that way at the moment, with a government grant now in place for fleets looking to lease or buy hydrogen-fuelled vehicles. Who knows, perhaps hydrogen fuel cell taxis will soon be taking on London’s black cabs?

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