This decade is going to be remembered as one of great change for the automotive industry as new technologies including electric and self-driving cars begin to integrate with our long-standing road system. But another one which is also on the horizon is hydrogen cars, which have been in rapid development for a number of years but are only just receiving the funds needed to test them on our roads.
Hydrogen Cars Heading Towards UK Streets
The governments business minister Matt Hancock has recently announced that Britain will spend £11 million on funding for the new technology, with the hope that hydrogen cars could be driving around by the end of 2015.
The investment will help establish an initial network of up to 15 hydrogen refuelling stations by the end of 2015, with more funding available on both sides of next year’s election. The government hopes that this move will help them reach their goal of establishing the UK as a global leader for ultra-low emission vehicles.
This comes after leading hydrogen car developer Toyota chose the UK as one of the first markets to sell its fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) when they go on sale next year. Of the £11 million pledged, £7.5 million will come from the government and £3.5 million from the industry, which will be broken down into:
- £2 million of top-up funding to upgrade 6 to 8 existing hydrogen refuelling stations which are already operational or under development in the UK.
- £2 million of funding for public sector fleets to encourage deployment of around 40 hydrogen FCEVs in selected places.
- £3.5 million of funding to be matched by industry for 4 to 7 new hydrogen refuelling stations. This will include mobile stations as well as those on stand-alone sites and integrated into conventional petrol forecourts.
Speaking in Japan where he met executives at Honda, Nissan and Toyota, Mr Hancock said: “Britain has become one of the best places in the world to build cars, with the value of those we export outstripping imports for the first time in a generation, but we want to go further.
“Hydrogen cars present us with a huge economic opportunity and can bolster our internationally renowned automotive industry. We want to make the UK one of the best places in the world to design, manufacture and sell ultra-low emission vehicles.
“Government will work in true partnership with industry so the potential benefits are realised by businesses and consumers across the UK.”
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