The Government has launched a £2 million fund to encourage early adoption of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles in public and private sector fleets.
The Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) Fleet Support Scheme will allow local authorities, health trusts, police forces, fire brigades and private companies to bid for funding to add hydrogen-powered vehicles to their fleets.
The fund, launched by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), could bring up to 100 more hydrogen fuel cell cars and vans onto the road over the next year. This would effectively triple the number currently in use.
FCEVs emit no CO2 or other harmful pollutants and the only by-product is pure water vapour. They also offer a driving range of more than 300 miles and can be refuelled in 5 minutes using a hydrogen gas pump similar to conventional petrol pumps.
£5 million was committed in 2014 to introduce an initial 12 commercial hydrogen refuelling stations in England, all of which are expected to be open by the end of 2016. The stations are likely to be clustered around existing infrastructure in London and the South East, South West England and Wales, the Midlands, Yorkshire and Scotland.
Through the FCEV Fleet Support Scheme, applicants can cover up to 75 per cent of the costs of new vehicles bought by April 2017 and the costs of running them for up to three years. Support will also be available for the leasing or renting of vehicles, insurance, hydrogen fuel, servicing and driver familiarisation.
Zero emission vision
The UK is one of five launch markets for hydrogen-fuelled vehicles across the world. Toyota and Hyundai each have one model now for sale in the UK, the Mirai and the iX35 Fuel Cell respectively, with more expected to follow.
Transport minister, Andrew Jones, said: “We are always looking at new ways to make the vehicles of the future cleaner, and hydrogen fuel cells are an important part of our vision for almost all cars and vans to be zero-emission by 2050.
“This funding, along with the growing network of hydrogen refuelling stations opening in England, will help businesses and the public sector to get on board with this exciting technology. This is further proof that we are leading the way in making journeys cleaner and protecting the environment.”
With the exception of freight transport businesses, any organisation interested in deploying FCEVs in their fleet can apply for funding. This includes vehicles used for courier services.
Funding bids must be submitted by Monday 4 July 2016. An information seminar/webinar will be held for potential bidders on 27 May. For more information, click here.