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EuropCar to join pilot tests on hydrogen fueled vehicles

MiraiEuropCar is one of three major participants in a new UK project to road test hydrogen powered vehicles. The car hire company will buy a portion of the almost 200 strong fleet of hydrogen fueled cars to be made available under the Department for Transport initiative.

The DfT is chipping in £8.8 million to get the hydrogen test trials off the ground while corporate enterprises are providing another £13.1 million. Element Energy is heading up a consortium of stakeholders including Toyota, Shell and ITM Power.

Toyota will be manufacturing the cars and the hydrogen fuel cells needed to power them. Although Toyota has not so far confirmed the model it will be adapting all signs indicate it will likely be the Mirai.

In addition to EuropCar, the other entities which will participate in the hydrogen road trials are Green Tomato Cars and London’s Met Police. Green Tomato is an ecologically friendly private hire car and taxi firm based in London. The Met has already confirmed its quotient of the hydrogen fleet will be utilised as patrol cars.

To enable the road trials to proceed smoothly, five existing hydrogen refuelling stations in the UK are set to get upgrades and another four will be built. London will gain two new stations and the other two will be in Derby and Birmingham.

The advantage of hydrogen when compared to electric as an eco-fuel is that refuelling is accomplished in a matter of minutes and a full tank allows for longer distances. Jesse Norman, the UK Roads Minister, explained that hydrogen vehicles were the way forward and particularly so for companies and drivers with high annual mileage.

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