Arval says more than 50 delegates attended the first in a series of five roadshows to raise awareness of hydrogen cars.
Held at the National Trust property Heelis in Swindon, ‘Driving Innovation, Investment and A Cleaner Future’, attracted fleet decision-makers, local politicians and other influencers during a morning session that explained the hydrogen transport proposition in detail.
In the afternoon, the event was opened up to the general public, hundreds of whom took an interest in the event, and hydrogen cars from manufacturers including Hyundai, Toyota and Riversimple were available to examine.
The roadshow will now visit four further locations, starting with Oxford on May 17, Leeds on June 28, Birmingham on October 16 and London later in the year.
Paul Marchment, senior business manager at Arval, who oversees the company’s hydrogen activities, said: “We are really pleased with the turnout for the first roadshow. There was a genuine sense of engagement with the subject and a lot of enthusiasm.
“Our aim at each location is to reach audiences who together can help drive positive change. We want to show them hydrogen vehicles and explain how the technology works. Once you know more about the technology, you are more likely to adopt and champion it.
“We feel that we very much reached this goal at Swindon and are looking to the next event at Oxford.”
Arval has developed an expertise in hydrogen cars through its involvement in a Swindon-based project called the Hydrogen Hub, which researches the viability of fuel cell technology for domestic, commercial and transport applications in real world conditions.
Marchment said: “Thanks to the work we’ve done with the Hydrogen Hub, we have considerable expertise in running hydrogen cars. It is our aim and passion to share this knowledge through these roadshows.
“Right now, the Hydrogen Hub runs seven hydrogen cars with a range of fleet customers. So while in its infancy – and notwithstanding that vehicle production needs to increase to cut purchase price, and that the refuelling infrastructure needs to improve – we believe that with the right backing from the public, businesses, government and manufacturers, the demand for hydrogen will increase and that will help drive a more sustainable future for all.”
Arval’s parent company, BNP Paribas UK, is funding the roadshows across as part of its dual commitment to serve the UK economy and invest in UK society, particularly through championing projects that help lead to a more sustainable future.
Clare Jackson, manager of the Hydrogen Hub, said: “We are very excited to offer the opportunity to businesses, local authorities and the public to learn about hydrogen vehicles and test the technology.
“Having the ability for zero-carbon tailpipe emissions while not requiring the consumer to change their behaviour in any way, we hope the events will raise awareness and demonstrate the benefits of the technology.
“We need to grow the market for hydrogen and fuel cell industry and ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of this development as it can play a very important role in decarbonisation of the UK economy.”