The new programme – UKH2Mobility – brings together three government departments and industrial participants from the utility, gas, infrastructure and global car manufacturing sectors.
The group will evaluate the potential for hydrogen as a fuel for ultra low-carbon vehicles in the UK before developing an action plan for an anticipated roll-out to consumers in 2014/15.
The action plan will analyse in detail the specific UK case for the introduction of hydrogen fuel cell EVs; review the investments required to commercialise the technology, including refuelling infrastructure; and identify what is required to make the UK a leading global player in hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle manufacturing.
At the launch of UKH2Mobility at the Royal Society, the Business Minister Mark Prisk said: ‘The UK is proving itself to be a key early market for ultra-low emission vehicles with growing numbers of electric and plug-in hybrids appearing on our roads.
‘The Government is supporting this market by investing £400m to support the development, demonstration and deployment of low and ultra-low emission vehicles.
‘Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles are increasingly being recognised as one of the viable options as we move to a lower carbon motoring future. They are highly efficient, can be fuelled in minutes, travel an equivalent range to a conventional combustion engine, and have zero tail-pipe emissions.
‘The UK has a number of world-class companies that are developing exciting technologies in both the hydrogen energy and automotive value chains and it is therefore vitally important that we identify what is required to make these cars a realistic proposition for UK consumers.
‘UKH2Mobility will bring together industry expertise to establish the UK as a serious global player in the manufacture and use of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and the supporting infrastructure.’
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.
‘With this comprehensive list of partners we can be assured to have all the knowledge necessary to make UKH2 Mobility an exhaustive and credible study.’