The Government says plans to make nearly every vehicle in the country zero-emission by 2050 “have taken a further step forward”, with the launch of a £2 million fund to encourage more businesses to switch to hydrogen-fuelled vehicles.
It says its 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 £2 million fund, launched by the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), could bring up to 100 more hydrogen fuel cell cars and vans onto our roads by next spring – the equivalent of tripling the number of vehicles currently in use.
The Government says zero-emission hydrogen vehicles are cleaner and greener than standard vehicles, and the UK is “leading the way” in the introduction of this technology.
The new fund comes after the government committed £5 million in 2014 through the Hydrogen for Transport Advancement Programme for 12 hydrogen refuelling stations. Today, Transport Minister Andrew Jones opened the second of these stations at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington. All 12 stations are expected to be open by the end of the year, which is a significant step towards a national network.
Mr 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.”
The money will cover up to 75% of the costs of new vehicles bought by next April (2017), as well as the cost of running them for up to 3 years. Support will also be available for the leasing or renting of vehicles, insurance, hydrogen fuel and servicing.
The UK is one of only 5 launch markets for these vehicles: Toyota and Hyundai each have a single FCEV model for sale in the UK – the Mirai and the iX35 Fuel Cell respectively – with more to come.
The UK’s support for research and development of ultra low emission vehicles (ULEV), as well as supporting infrastructure and the market for these vehicles, make this country one of the most attractive places to invest in ULEV technology in the world.