Toyota is to deliver 12 Mirai hydrogen-powered vehicles to London, where four will be used by Transport for London (TfL) to assist with engineering and maintenance work carried out between bus stops and Tube stations.
The car is Toyota’s first mass-market hydrogen fuel cell car and went on sale in Japan at the end of last year.
By January 2016, all 12 of the vehicles will be on the road in the capital, which in addition to TfL will be used by private hire fleets and green businesses including the energy storage and clean fuel company ITM Power.
Toyota said that London was a key city for early adoption of the new vehicles due to Mayor Boris Johnson’s commitment to developing the necessary infrastructure while encouraging motorists to move to more environmentally-friendly car technology.
The arrival of the zero-emission cars is supported by the construction of hydrogen refuelling stations, while the Mayor also plans to introduce the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone from 2020 which will boost the market for the technology.
Johnson 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.”
Tfl launched a fleet of five hydrogen buses between Covent Garden and Tower Gateway in 2010. The service now runs eight buses across the route which is set to grow to ten in 2016.
Managing director for Toyota Paul Van der Burgh 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.
"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.”
Hydrogen powered vehicles emit only water vapour from the tailpipe but are on a par with conventional vehicles in terms of size, driving range, speed and refuelling time. They are currently exempt from the congestion charging fee in Central London and there is no duty on hydrogen as a road fuel.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became the first owner of one of Toyota’s new cars in January.