Fuel-cell tech fund grab
05 December 2014
Fleets are using multiple sources to help bring down the purchase price of new hydrogen cars to an acceptable level.
Firms can attract money from London Hydrogen Network Expansion Project (LHNE), Clean Transport In European Cities (HyTEC), Hydrogen for Innovative Vehicles (HyFive) as well as the £5000 plug-in car grant, which hydrogen cars also qualify for.
The combination of funds from one project and the plug-in car grant can reduce the cost of a hydrogen car down to around £55,000.
Hyundai was the first manufacturer to launch a production hydrogen car in the UK with its ix35 in October this year. However, the technology has been limited to a global production of 1000 cars and pricing is not
being discussed publicly.
Air Products, ITM Power, Johnson Matthey and Transport for London have all used funds from the programmes to fund their fuel-cell ix35s.
Hyundai is using the hydrogen fuel-cell ix35s as an example of its technological prowess, rather than a mainstream volume model.
Robin Hayles, Hyundai UK sustainable fuel development manager, told BusinessCar: "We do not expect this vehicle to be a mass market proposition and therefore we don't want to give the impression that the vehicles will always be priced at a premium as this will not be the case for the next generation of vehicles, which will be priced considerably lower."
Hayles said Hyundai would reveal pricing when a more robust hydrogen infrastructure was in place in the UK.
Honda and Toyota have both revealed intentions to launch production hydrogen cars. Toyota will be first with its Mirai while Honda's FCV is due in 2016.
The Government revealed in October that it is injecting £11 million to support hydrogen transport in the UK in order to expand the nationwide hydrogen refuelling station network and is expecting to have 15 public stations open before the end of this year. There are further plans to expand the network to 65 filling stations.
Of the £11m fund, £2.5m will go to public sector fleets to encourage adoption of around 40 fuel-cell vehicles in major cities.
"By 2040, all new cars and vans will be ultra low-emission vehicles and this could be delivered by a variety of technologies, including plug-in hybrids, pure EVs and hydrogen," said transport minister Baroness Kramer.
"We want to ensure that support is there for all of these vehicles and that the UK continues to lead the pack in providing the right infrastructure to drive the switch."