Dubai Launches Hydrogen Fuel Cell Taxi Pilot Program

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) of Dubai has launched a new hydrogen fuel cell taxi pilot program, with new modified Toyota Mirai units going into service. This is apparently part of the RTA’s efforts to continue exploring options for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.

This news follows the recent implementation of all-electric Tesla Model S sedans and Model X SUVs as taxis in Dubai.

The new hydrogen fuel cell Toyota Mirai taxis can be fully refueled/recharged in just a few minutes, notably faster than current all-electric vehicles can be. Though, it’s not clear how much this actually matters with regard to taxi usage patterns.

In other words, if an all-electric taxi doesn’t run through a full charge in a workday, then what does charging speed matter anyways? And if it can plug in between rides, again, does the total time charging matter?

An alternate solution to the possible problem of long charging times is to add a petrol/gas range extender, as the London Electric Vehicle Company has done to its products.

The new Toyota Mirai can reportedly travel up to 500 kilometers on a single tank of fuel.

“RTA attaches paramount importance to protecting the environment and saving power consumption. … This experiment is a part of a low carbon strategy aimed at making Dubai a role model in efficient power consumption and low carbon emission,” stated Mattar Al Tayer, the Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA.

Here’s more on the matter: “The hydrogen-powered car, Toyota Mirai, will be on a trial run as the RTA continues to look for alternate fuel options as part of its sustainable transport strategy, the Khaleej Times reported. … He added that the initiative will help the RTA achieve its target of reducing carbon emissions of taxis by 2%.”

Initially, the new hydrogen fuel cell taxis will be deployed as part of a limousine service at the Dubai International Airport operated by RTA — with potential for a wider rollout at some point in the future if all goes well.

As it stands, RTA is aiming to transition at least half of its taxi fleet to low- or no-emissions vehicles by 2021.

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