Twelve new zero-emission Toyota hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will be driving on the UK capital’s roads by the end of the year, the Mayor of London has announced.
Four of car manufacturer Toyota’s Mirai hydrogen powered cars will be taken by Transport for London (TfL) to assist with engineering and maintenance work that is carried out between bus stops and tube stations.
A further eight of these vehicles will then also be on the road by the end of the year, being used by private hire fleets and businesses, including the energy storage and clean fuel company ITM Power.
According to Toyota, the Mirai is the first hydrogen fuel cell sedan vehicle to be commercially mass produced, and the carmaker has named London as a key city for early adoption of the technology over the next two years.
There are currently just seven zero emissions tailpipe hydrogen passenger cars in London, but with the additional Toyota vehicles as well as further similar cars expected from rival manufacturer Hyundai, this number is expected to triple in the coming year.
Meanwhile, the number of hydrogen refuelling stations in the capital is set to more than double to five by the end of 2016, with the assistance of the Europe-wide HyFIVE initiative designed to boost hydrogen car infrastructure and take-up (see AirQualityNews.com story).
There are currently 300 Mirai cars driving and 80 refuelling stations under construction in Japan, where the Mayor, Boris Johnson, was last week (October 13) on a trade visit.
During the visit, Mr Johnson test drove a Mirai car and met with senior Toyota executives and welcomed the news of the additional hydrogen vehicles coming to London’s streets.
The Mayor of London said: “It is fantastic that London will benefit from these new state-of-the-art hydrogen vehicles. By embracing this technology of the future, we aim to consolidate hydrogen’s role as a practical alternative fuel for the 21st century and beyond. I am sure that Transport for London will provide the ideal environment for us to see everything the Mirai can do and, in doing so, take another great step towards improving air quality in our city and protecting the health of Londoners.”
Hydrogen powered vehicles emit water vapour and zero emissions from the tailpipe, while hydrogen itself can be produced through renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. As well as being exempt from the congestion charging fee in Central London, hydrogen vehicles pay no road tax and there is currently no duty on hydrogen as a road fuel.
Paul Van der Burgh, Toyota (GB) Plc’s president and managing director, said: “We have been delighted to welcome the Mayor of London to our headquarters in Japan to see for himself Toyota’s commitment to sustainable mobility. Toyota believes in hydrogen as a key enabler for building a future zero emissions society and we applaud the Mayor’s commitment to embracing new technology in his mission to make London a leading global city for low-emission, low-carbon transport.
“The success of hydrogen will require constructive dialogue and action, bringing together industry, national governments and city authorities like London to share and develop skills and experience and to communicate the benefits that can be delivered to business and to individuals. Our Mirai fuel cell vehicle is a milestone in the history of the motor car and opens up unprecedented opportunities for cleaner, sustainable transport.”