Leading car manufacturers have joined hydrogen fuel suppliers and energy consultancies from around the globe to develop and demonstrate technology and infrastructure to improve the viability of fuel cell vehicles.
The agreement, co-ordinated by the Mayor of London's Office, includes Hyundai, Honda, BMW, Toyota and Marcedes-Benz parent company Daimler, who will deploy a total of 110 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles at several European locations and will result in the development of new clusters of hydrogen refuelling stations.
Fuel cell technology uses hydrogen gas combined with oxygen from the atomosphere to generate electric power with no harmful tailpipe emissions – only water vapour. They have the potential to be more than twice as fuel-efficient as conventionally powered vehicles and operate very quietly. The technology allows for rapid re-fuelling times and the potential to cover more than 400 miles before needing to be re-fuelled.
The conditions for fuel cell electric vehicles to become widely available is now seen as increasingly likely as the cost of the technology is reducing and infrastructure is being improved.
Honda already leases fuel cell cars to customers in California, while Hyundai began limited production of its ix35 fuel cell vehicle in 2013 with full production beginning in 2015.