The UK government will invest £11m to help set up infrastructure for hydrogen-powered cars in the UK.
The funding, announced by UK Business Minister Matthew Hancock during a tour in Japan, will be used to build a network of up to 15 hydrogen refuelling stations in the Great Britain by the end of 2015.
“Hydrogen cars present us with a huge economic opportunity and can bolster our internationally renowned automotive industry,” Hancock said after meeting with representatives of pioneering Japanese manufacturers Toyota, Nissan and Honda.
“We want to make the UK one of the best places in the world to design, manufacture and sell ultra-low emission vehicles. Government will work in true partnership with industry so the potential benefits are realised by businesses and consumers across the UK.”
Part of the UK government’s drive to become a global leader in ultra-low emission vehicles, the announcement follows an earlier decision by Toyota to make the UK one of the first markets for its hydrogen fuel cell powered electric vehicle when it goes on sale next year.
Of the £11m of funding announced by Hancock, £7.5m will come from the government and £3.5m from industry.
£2m will be used to upgrade six to eight existing hydrogen refuelling stations and take them from demonstrator projects to publicly accessible sites. Further four to seven new stations will be funded by £3.5m of governmental money and additional £3.5m from the industry.
A £2m investment will go towards purchasing fleets of hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric vehicles for the UK public sector.
As part of the low carbon transport initiative, the UK government previously allocated £400m to support electric plug-in and hybrid vehicles, with an additional £500m to be made available next year.
The programme follows on from the work undertaken by the UKH2Mobility project, which outlined a roadmap for the hydrogen fuel cell car deployment with the ultimate goal of creating a network of 65 hydrogen refuelling stations across the UK.
The UKH2Mobility project, bringing together representatives of UK government departments and industry, was established to evaluate the benefits of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles to the UK and to develop a roadmap for the introduction of fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.