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Birmingham switching 63 diesel cabs to LPG
The conversion of 63 diesel-powered ‘black’ cabs in Birmingham to run on petrol engines using LPG-fuel has started under the city’s NOx Reduction Champions project.
As a result of the engine conversion, said Birmingham city council, the vehicles will be “Euro 6 compliant – the standard at which all vehicles within the scope of the city’s government-mandated Clean Air Zone will be exempt from any charges.”
The first five cabs, silver in colour, were booked into Harborne Garage last week to have the new LPG (liquefied petroleum gas)-fuelled engines fitted. The work is part of the NOx reduction project which is a partnership between the garage, engine manufacturer KMS and Birmingham City Council. The partnership is being further supported through collaboration with LPG supplier Autogas.
Clean Air Zone
Anne Shaw, assistant director for transportation at Birmingham city council, said: “We have to introduce a Clean Air Zone as part of the Government’s strategy to bring the country into line with the law.
“The fact our city has an ageing fleet of cabs means we need to look at how we can work with drivers to re-profile the vehicles serving customers in the city as their impact on air quality is significant.
“Through the funding the council has successfully unlocked from the Government, we’ve been able to play a part in forming links with technology providers and engineers to come up with part of the solution to one of the city’s major public health issues.”
Ms Shaw added that the project is one of a package of measures and investment to encourage people to use other fuels and forms of transport in the city.
Linda Gomersall, general manager of Autogas, said: “Autogas Ltd is delighted to be working alongside Birmingham City Council as part of their ‘Birmingham NOx Reduction Champions’ project in retrofitting their taxi fleet to run on LPG.
“With an increase in levels of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide that are harmful to human health, it remains imperative that these air quality issues are addressed in Birmingham and across the UK.
“As such, Birmingham City Council should be highly commended for adopting measures such as retrofitting their taxi fleet to run on cleaner LPG fuel, demonstrating that both locally and nationally, they are already at the forefront of tackling air pollution from the most polluting vehicles and meeting the demands set out as part of the Government’s Clean Air Zones programme, well ahead of the deadline in 2020.”
£8,000 per taxi
Autogas noted that the cost of repowering an existing diesel powered taxi to LPG costs approximately £8,000 and drivers are said to recoup the cost of conversion in less than two years.
The conversion work has been allocated to Harborne Garage and Steve Law from the garage said: “We are delighted to be awarded the Birmingham NOx Reduction Champions project contract. This is a moment in time that could change the iconic black cab that we know and love forever.
“Eighteen months ago we set out to provide a solution for this and so the team was created. “After many months of technical challenges the team achieved the goal of central Government approval of the Taxi TX1 and TX2 NOx reduction solution.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the team involved for achieving such a challenging task. With thanks to Autogas Ltd, Kronenburg Management Systems, Vogels and a special thanks to Sylvia Broadley at Birmingham city council for her long-standing support from concept to reality.
Photo: Harborne Garage where the conversion to LPG takes place, pictured are: Anne Shaw, assistant director for transportation at Birmingham city council, with Steve White of Harborne Garage