Hydrogen-powered vehicles could be available to consumers and businesses within the next four years under plans launched today by Business Minister Mark Prisk.
Described as "ground-breaking", the UKH2Mobility
programme involves leading car manufacturers, energy companies, hydrogen fuel cell
developers, and three Government departments – the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, the Department for Transport and the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Signatories to today’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) include Nissan, Toyota Vauxhall and Tata Motors, Scottish and Southern Energy, the US’ Air Products and France’s Air Liquide Hydrogen Energy.
Hydrogen offers enormous potential to move the UK towards a zero carbon transport system because it can easily be converted to electricity in a fuel cell and because it is carbon free. For a number of years now, UK companies have been developing and testing hydrogen-powered vehicles. UKH2Mobility will look at how the UK can now become a leading global player in hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle manufacturing alongside countries such as the US, Japan and Germany.
The programme will kick off by evaluating the potential of hydrogen as a transport fuel, reporting back by the end of 2012. If the results are positive, it will develop an action plan for an anticipated rollout to consumers in 2014/15.
"Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles are increasingly being recognised as one of the viable options as we move to a lower carbon motoring future," said Prisk. "They are highly efficient, can be fuelled in minutes, travel an equivalent range to a conventional combustion engine, and have zero tailpipe emissions."
Jerry Hardcastle, vice-president for Vehicle Design and Development at Nissan said: "This is an important step for the automotive
sector towards the development of clean vehicle technologies and zero emission mobility. It will lay many of the foundations for the commercial deployment of hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles which could represent a large segment of the UK market in the coming years."
Other signatories to today’s MoU are Daimler, Hyundai, Intelligent Energy, ITM Power, Johnson Matthey, The BOC Group.
UKH2Mobility is part of a £400million investment programme pledged by the Government to support the development, demonstration and deployment of low and ultra-low emission vehicles.
Yesterday, the DfT announced it was extending its Plug-in Car Grant
, which subsidies the upfront costs of electric and hybrid cars, to light commercial electric vehicles.
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