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Boris stops Ken’s hydrogen vehicles

by Alan Harten
August 11, 2008

In a U-Turn on London’s environmental planning, the new mayor of London has dropped what was possibly the largest ever order for hydrogen vehicles.

“Red” Ken Livingstone had ordered 60 hydrogen vehicles, according to a report by Global Insight economic consulting.

But now it seems not so “green” Boris has apparently canceled that order, the intention of which was to become the largest fleet of public owned hydrogen vehicles in the world.

The idea was to promote interest in hydrogen as an alternative energy source for all kinds of vehicles including trucks vans and cars.

The order has been cancelled by the London mayor because of concerns over the cost of the project, and it is believed that Boris does not have a lot of faith in the technological aspects of the smaller hydrogen vehicles to warrant the large outpouring of public funds.

Ten buses that were included in the order are still going to be purchased at a cost of over £10 million.

Conversely, he is still in favour of promoting the expansion of a hydrogen taxi fleet, which presumably would also be considered as “small” hydrogen vehicles, the only difference being they are not being paid for by public funds.

In another contradiction, Transport For London said that they were never looking for a “middle-man” such as Global Insight economic consulting, and wanted to deal directly with a manufacturer.

They had original earmarked £4 million of the total £10 million, to come from their coffers.

They say they will continue to investigate the possibilities of hydrogen vehicles as the technology emerges, which sounds like politician speak for ‘we will sit on the fence in case the public or White Hall get upset about this’.

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