The government has announced a new £23m fund to accelerate the take-up of hydrogen vehicles and roll-out high-tech infrastructure such as fuel stations.
A perceived road bump to wider usage is the availability of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, so the government is launching a competition this summer. Hydrogen fuel providers will be able to bid for funding in partnership with organisations that produce hydrogen vehicles to help build high-tech infrastructure.
It will invite proposals from public organisations, businesses and hydrogen operators, and the government will provide match funding for successful bidders as it works on slashing carbon emissions and improving air quality in the UK.
Transport minister John Hayes said:
The transition to zero emission road transport is both inevitable and desirable as it will improve air quality in many of our towns and cities. Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles can play a vital role alongside battery electric vehicles to help us cut harmful emissions.
We know availability of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure can be a potential obstacle to the take up of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.
That’s why we’re providing support to give interested parties the confidence to continue to invest in this new emerging technology to help us achieve our ambition for almost all new cars and vans to be zero emission by 2040.
Hydrogen vehicles are refuelled using a pump like your traditional petrol or diesel car, but use gas instead and produce only water as a by-product.
The funding forms part of the government's drive towards improving low emission vehicles, allocating over £600m to their development over the course of this parliament.
The capital is also exploring wider take-up of hydrogen for the future. At the end of last year London mayor Sadiq Khan unveiled the capital's first double-decker hydrogen bus as part of a commitment to phase out diesel buses.
They will be trialled on London's roads this year and no more pure diesel double-decker buses will be added to the capital's fleet from 2018. All new single-deck buses will be zero-emission.