The Anonymous Widower

Are Hydrogen-Fuelled Vehicles A Waste Of Our Time And Energy?

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Engineering & Technology, which is the magazine of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. So it should be authoritative.

This is the concluding paragraph.

Cars account for 61 per cent of surface transport emissions, HGVs only 17 per cent, buses 3 per cent, and rail 2 per cent (CCC, December 2020) so for cost/benefit it cannot be worthwhile switching to hydrogen fuel cell buses and trains. Through any impartial lens of engineering science, hydrogen fuel cell cars do not appear to be a transport winner and the Government should revisit decisions it has made about related funding. But then there is political virtue signalling.

It is a must-read contribution to the debate, as to whether hydrogen or battery power, is best for surface transport.

I don’t believe there is a simple answer, because for some applications, battery electric power is not feasible because of reasons of power or range.

  • Would a battery-electric truck, be able to haul a forty-four tonne load between the Channel Tunnel and Scotland?
  • Would a battery-electric locomotive be able to haul a thousand tonne aggregate or stone train for anything but a few tens of miles?
  • Is it possible to design a a battery-electric double-deck bus, that can carry seventy passengers?

I believe there are applications, where battery-electric is not a feasible alternative to the current diesel traction.

It is worth noting, that truck-maker; Daimler is planning to have both battery and hydrogen heavy trucks in its product line.

Users will choose, what is the best zero-carbon transport for their needs.

The Black Cab Driver’s Answer

It is always said, that, if you want to know the answer to a difficult question, you ask the opinion of a black cab driver.

So as the new electric black taxis, are the most common electric vehicle, that the average Londoner uses, what do the guys up-front say about their expensive vehicles.

  • Regularly, cab drivers complain to me about the range and having to use the diesel engine to charge the battery or power the car.
  • Some suggest to me, that hydrogen might be a better way to make the vehicles zero-carbon.

I think they may have a point about hydrogen being a better method of powering a black taxi, when you look at the pattern of journeys and the battery size and charging limitations of the vehicle.

These limitations may reduce in the future, as the technology gets better, with higher density batteries and faster charging.

We could even see a design and sales war between battery and hydrogen black cabs.

It always pays to follow the money!

February 17, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Chaos In The Balls Pond Road

This article in The Times is called High Court Deals Blow To Expansion Of Cycle Lanes And Wider Pavements.

This was the first paragraph.

Road closures designed to boost walking and cycling could face legal challenges after a judge declared that a big expansion of the plans was “unlawful”.

A challenge to the often ill-thought out improvements from black-cab drovers has been successful.

My experience, yesterday, summed up my inconvenience with such a scheme.

yaxiI actually, think that matters are being made worse by some of the designs and planning by the Council Clowns.

A big scheme is being undertaken around the Balls Pond Road to bring in a cycleway between Tottenham and the City. In Hackney, it looks like it will improve walking and calm the traffic in residential areas as well.

I had a serious stroke ten years and my eyesight was ruined enough, so that I couldn’t drive, so I rely heavily on buses to get around.

On Tuesday, I needed to go to the Angel to pick up a prescription. On arriving at the junction of Balls Pond Road and Southgate Road, I found that one of Islington’s Idiots had planned to dig up the junction and all four bus stops were closed. The traffic was so jammed as well, that there weren’t even any stray black cabs stoating about!

In the end, I walked to the next bus stop. This was not easy, as the lock-down has ruined my feet and they were painful.

But I got a bus to the Angel and after a bit of food shopping, I looked for a taxi to come home.

But another branch of Clowns and Idiots Ltd. has closed the taxi rank, so I had to resort to the bus, which got stuck in another set of jams caused by Thames Water at one of their well-used Party Places.

I did find a black cab, but he was unable to take me home, as the area was gridlocked. So he said give him a tenner and walk. As this was less than what was on the meter, I complied!

I laid down the principles of project planning using small computers in the 1970s.

Obviously, My ideas have fallen on deaf ears in Islington Council.

January 21, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Ride In A Dynamo Electric Taxi

I came out of Marks and Spencer on Finsbury Pavement and an unusual black taxi was sitting on the rank opposite.

So I had to take a ride.

It was a Dynamo Electric Taxi based on a Nissan e-NV200 Evalia MPV.

These are my thoughts.

 

The Two Major Complaints About The LEVC TX Cab From Drivers

There are two major complaints about the LEVC TX from drivers.

  • It is too expensive to buy.
  • The range on battery power is not far enough.

I’ve also had several conversations about hydrogen power

My Taxi Use

As I have a Freedom Pass, I only travel in taxis about twice a month. Usually this is when I’m coming home from a railway station like Euston, Liverpool Street or Kings Cross in the evening and I want to get home quickly, or I am coming home with shopping, as I was today. Only occasionally, do I use a taxi with somebody else.

I’d be interested to know, the average number of passengers in a black cab.

Dynamo Has Developed A Vehicle To Sell

I feel that Dynamo have developed a vehicle that will sell.

  • The driver said that it is £20,000 cheaper than the LEVC TX.
  • The web site says that the battery range is at least twice that of the LEVC TX.
  • The capacity is one less than the lEVC TX, which is probably not a large disadvantage.
  • The cab includes four different charging methods.
  • It can even be charged from a 13-amp socket.
  • It can carry one person in a wheelchair.
  • Roomy enough for taller drivers.
  • Dynamo claimed to have talked to the drivers. As they have addressed, their two major complaints, that seems about right.
  • It has a glass roof, as does the LEV TX, which is a good feature for a cab,
  • It is 100 % electric and zero carbon.

Overall, it seems to have been designed to have a low cost of ownership. Being based on a standard vehicle must help.

Would It Appeal To Drivers In Smaller Towns And Cities?

After my stroke, I used a lot of taxis to go between my house and the local bus station in Haverhill, which was a distance of about four miles.

Haverhill is a town of 27,000 people without a railway station.

  • The nearest railway station at Dullingham is 10 miles away.
  • Cambridge is 18 miles away.
  • Bury St. Edmunds is 19 miles away.

I feel that the range could be sufficient to run a taxi service in a town like Haverhill.

So could the Dynamo taxi, bring black cabs to more areas?

Ride Quality

Ride quality was what I would expect from a modern vehicle.

Comfort And Space

Comfort was very similar to that of an LEVC TX, but there was a little bit less space. But that wouldn’t bother me.

Would I Use One Again?

I can’t see any reason not to!

I might even choose one in preference to an LEVC TX or a Mercedes Vito, as my road can sometimes be congested and a smaller vehicle might be an advantage.

Conclusion

The Dynamo Black Cab looks to be a serious alternative to the LEVC TX. Especially, as the design has addressed the two major complaints of drovers; cost and range and the vehicle is 100 % electric.

In my lifetime, there have been alternative black cabs, like the Winchester, the Mercedes Vito and the Metrocab.

I can see others joining the market.

 

October 5, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

An Inappropriate Advert

I didn’t think that this taxi-advert was in good taste.

No Time To Die has been put back to the 12th of November.

May 4, 2020 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , | 3 Comments

Hiring More Female Lorry Drivers Would Cut Accidents

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in The Times.

A study by the University of Westminster has shown that women drivers have less accidents.

This is a paragraph from the article.

Academics called for more women to be recruited to driving jobs in light of their better road safety record. They said that greater gender equality in positions that rely on motoring skills such as driving taxis, HGVs and delivery vans was needed to help cut deaths.

The article didn’t give any prediction about what will happen in the future.

So here goes!

We are already seeing taxis and delivery vans going zero carbon and I think within twenty years or even less, a large proportion of taxis, HGVs and delivery vans will be either battery-powered, or more likely, in my view, hydrogen-powered.

Look at the LEVC black taxi and compare it to its diesel forerunner.

  • It is more environmentally-friendly.
  • It has a lot of driver and passenger-friendly features.

But it is more expensive.

I suspect that the capital cost of a zero-carbon HGV bus or delivery van, will also be more expensive, than the current diesels.

  • As to the fuel costs between diesel, battery and hydrogen, this would depend on the application, but fuel costs tend to even themselves out.
  • There could be a saving with battery- and hydrogen-powered vehicles in terms of maintenance, just because they are less complicated.

Summing up I could say the following.

  • I am fairly sure, that a zero-carbon taxi, HGV bus or delivery van will have an acquisition cost, that is higher than a diesel version.
  • I also think that if the vehicle was run on a twenty-four hour basis, that the fuel costs would be comparable per mile, but maintenance costs would be less.
  • So I think it likely, that vehicle owners would be more likely to want to run vehicles on a twenty-four hour basis, to get a better return on their capital.

Surely, this would require more drivers.

Consider.

  • A lot of black taxis in London are shared between two drivers.
  • There have been several instances, where I have read that a couple have both been London Underground drivers, as they can arrange shifts to fit in with child care and domestic duties.
  • The partner of a driver, will surely know what the job entails.
  • Driving a modern HGV or bus, is a lot less gruelling than it used to be.

Will more family-friendly methods of working emerge, that allows partners of existing drivers to join the profession?

London Underground certainly changed working conditions to get enough driver for the Night Tube.

Conclusion

Would employing more female drivers cut accidents?

It all depends on the quality of the drivers; both male and female.

But, I suspect that improvements in all vehicles in the future, will cut accidents anyway!

 

April 7, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Tesla Has A Rival In New Hyundai Hydrogen-Powered Semi-Truck Concept

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on designboom.

This is the introductory paragraph.

hyundai has revealed two new hydrogen-powered concepts – a fuel cell electric semi-truck and refrigerated trailer. both vehicles are part of the automaker’s fuel cell electric vehicle 2030 vision, which includes the widespread use of hydrogen-powered fuel cell technology in vehicles.

The concept looks to be aimed at large countries like Australia, Canda and the United States, but surely one scaled to the United Kingdom market, would be a very useful truck.

  • It would be a very efficient motorway cruiser, with those aerodynamics..
  • It would be zero-emission with no pollution, so could operate in cities.
  • The cab could be designed to meet all present and future driver visibility regulations.
  • It might not be liable for extra charges in cities like London.
  • Would battery trucks have enough range?

These trucks will be seen on UK roads in the next few years, as I believe that there is no other way to decarbonise heavy road transport.

Eight-Wheeler Trucks

If I walk two hundred metres from my house to the Balls Pond Road or the Kingsland High Road, the most common truck, that I see is an eight-wheeler heavy truck, that is transporting building materials, cement and spoil to and from the myriad building sites around where I live.

The pictures show typical eight-wheeler trucks working during the installation of the subway at Hackney Wick station.

Note the space under the truck between the front and rear axles. Surely, those clever Koreans can fit all the hydrogen gubbins under and in the truck.

  • Many of these trucks are in large fleets, which return to a depot, that is close to the city centre on a regular basis, so refuelling should be easy to arrange.
  • These trucks would probably need less fuel per day, than a large artic.
  • I doubt they would pay any access charges.
  • As they would be pollution-free, zero-carbon and probably a lot quieter, would they be able to work near sensitive sites like hispitals, schools and transport hubs?

They could be a very good economic proposition in a large city of urban conurbation.

Other Trucks

I also believe that hydrogen would be a sensible fuel for several classes of other trucks.

  • Four-wheel box vans.
  • Refuse trucks
  • Skip lorries
  • Larger vans

Hydrogen buses already seem to be running successfully in several cities.

The Missing Hydrogen Vehicle

I have chatted with black cab drivers in London, about the use of hydrogen as a fuel for taxis. Black cabs are getting larger and I believe that hydrogen could be their ideal fuel.

Conclusion

I believe that hydrogen will play a big part in decarbonising transport in the next few years and especially in urban areas.

November 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Could A White LEVC TX Electric Taxi Be A 21st Century Wedding Car?

I took these pictures of a white LEVC TX electric taxi at St. Pancras station.

A few minutes later, I got into a more common black one and asked the driver.

He said, he was very pleased with his new vehicle and he suspected some had been used as wedding cars.

September 20, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

The London Cablet

I took these pictures outside Carluccio’s in Smithfield.

It is called the London Cablet.

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

House Prices And Stations

I clipped this from the Evening Standard.

Enough said!

I purposely chose my house to be within ten minutes walk from the two Dalston Overground stations, that would open a couple of years after I moved in.

  • It is also within walking distance of twelve major bus routes. All the routes can carry wheel-chairs, if I should ever need one!
  • Five routes have stops, within a hundred metres, serving Bank, British Museum, Euston, Harley Street, Kings Cross, London Bridge, Manor House, Moorgate, Piccadilly Circus, Shaftesbury Avenue, St. Pauls, University College Hospital and Victoria.
  • I’m only fifty metres from a major cycling route between the City and White Hart Lane.
  • I even have a garage, that opens onto the street! But no car!
  • My road is wide and there is usually plenty of parking space for visitors or on-line deliveries.
  • A taxi ride from Euston, Liverpool Street or Kings Cross is usually under fifteen pounds at all times.

It will get even better!

  • When Crossrail opens, I will have 10-12 buses per hour to the Moorgate/Liverpool Street station.
  • Dalston Junction station will get a frequency of twenty trains per hour to and from Canada Water, Shoreditch and Whitechapel, that fan out to a selection of places in South London like Crystal Palace, Clapham Junction, Peckham and Penge.
  • Dalston Kingsland station will get a frequency of twelve trains per hour to Stratford in the East and Camden, Clapham Junction, Hampstead and High Speed Two in the West.
  • I will probably get a series of electric car charging points in the parking spaces in the road, where I live.
  • I could put a personal electric car charging point in my garage.

I’m told the value of my house has risen well in the almost ten years, I’ve owned it.

Did somebody once say, that the location of a property, were the three most important things about it?

Conclusion

Make sure your next property has good access to public transport.

June 13, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

I Have Yet To See A Lady Driving A London Battery Taxi

You don’t see many ladies driving black cabs in London, but there are more than a few.

But I’ve yet to see one of the new LEVC TX taxi being driven by a lady!

As the numbers of these taxis appear to be increasing, I don’t think it will be long before I come home in a battery taxi, driven by a lady.

 

June 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment