Government announces multi-million fund for hydrogen cars

Business minister Matthew Hancock has announced up to £11m will be made available to aid research and development.

The government and industry will prepare the UK for the roll-out of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).

The £11 million investment will help establish an initial network of up to 15 hydrogen refuelling stations by the end of 2015 and includes £2m of funding for public sector hydrogen vehicles.

The funding is part of the UK’s government’s drive to become a global leader in ultra-low emission vehicles. The news follows an announcement earlier this month that Toyota has chosen the UK as one of the first markets for its FCEV when it goes on sale next year.

Funds of up to £500m have also been promised to increase other more environmentally friendly cars, including electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, in the next parliament. The current funds stands at £400m.

The £2m of top-up funding to upgrade 6-8 existing hydrogen refuelling stations (already operational or under development in the UK) and take them from demonstrator projects to publically accessible sites

£3.5m of funding  is to be matched by industry for 4-7 new hydrogen refuelling stations. This will include mobile stations as well as those on stand-alone sites and integrated into conventional petrol forecourts

£2 million of funding for public sector fleets to encourage deployment of around 40 hydrogen FCEVs in focused geographical clusters.

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.”

“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.”

Transport minister Baroness Kramer added: “By 2040 all new cars and vans will be ultra-low emission vehicles and this could be delivered by a variety of technologies, including plug-in hybrids, pure EVs and hydrogen. We want to ensure support is there for all of these vehicles and the UK continues to lead the pack in providing the right infrastructure to drive the switch to electric.”