Government announces £2m hydrogen car fund

Department for Transport sets up fund to increase number of hydrogen cars on UK roads

In an effort to make the majority of cars on UK roads emission-free by the year 2050, the Department for Transport has this week announced the formation of a £2 million fund to encourage hydrogen fuel-cell car sales.

Called the Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Fleet Support Scheme, it will allow local authorities, health trusts, police forces, fire brigades and private companies to bid for funding to add hydrogen cars to their fleets. The scheme aims to triple the number of hydrogen cars on the UK’s roads to 100 by spring 2017.

At the moment, there are only two hydrogen cars on sale in the UK – the Toyota Mirai and the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell. The former costs north of £66,000 to buy, while the Hyundai is priced at over £53,000. More are on the way, however, with BMW, Mercedes, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota all coming together as part of the hyFive consortium to collaborate on hydrogen fuel-cell technology in order to accelerate its mass adoption on the car market.

However, the new Government fund will not just be used for the initial purchase price of hydrogen cars (although it’s designed to cover 75% of the list price). It’ll also be used to help with running costs for the first three years of ownership. This includes insurance, hydrogen fuel and servicing costs.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “This funding, along with the growing network of hydrogen fuelling 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’re leading the way in making journeys cleaner and protecting the environment.”

Limited refuelling infrastructure is the main obstacle to the mass adoption of hydrogen cars (by both the industry and consumers) right now, although the situation is slowly getting better. This week saw the opening of the first of five hydrogen filling stations in London, part of a total of 12 that are set to open this year across the country.

For more information on hydrogen cars and their continuing development, read our ‘Hydrogen cars: all you need to know’ article.

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