Government and industry map path to hydrogen vehicle future

18 January 2012 #SMMT News

Plans for a nationwide roll-out of hydrogen vehicles and refuelling infrastructure have today been welcomed by SMMT as a major step in securing the UK’s position as a global leader in the development and manufacture of ultra-low carbon vehicles.

UK H2Mobility, a consortium of 13 automotive companies, government organisations and energy companies, will consider the actions needed to secure the UK’s global role in the manufacture and use of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, ahead of an anticipated roll-out to consumers in 2014/15.

“UK H2Mobility is an exciting initiative that will accelerate the development and introduction of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles in UK,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. “It is yet another signal of the UK’s commitment to create a strong ultra-low carbon vehicle market and attract major international investment in R&D and product development to secure the long-term success of automotive manufacturing.”

Work undertaken by the Automotive Council to develop the strategic direction for automotive technologies has played a pivotal role in identifying ‘sticky technologies’ and developing an industry-wide consensus ‘Low Carbon Vehicle Roadmap’, which forecasts mass market hydrogen vehicle uptake to begin within the next 10 years.

Speaking at the launch of UK H2Mobility, Business Minister Mark Prisk, said, “The UK is proving itself to be a key early market for ultra-low emission vehicles with growing numbers of electric and plug-in hybrids appearing on our roads. The Government is supporting this market by investing £400million to support the development, demonstration and deployment of these vehicles.

“Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles are increasingly being recognised as one of the viable options as we move to a lower carbon motoring future. They are highly efficient, can be fuelled in minutes, travel an equivalent range to a conventional combustion engine, and have zero tail-pipe emissions.

“This country has a number of world-class companies that are developing exciting technologies in both the hydrogen energy and automotive value chains and it is vitally important that we identify what is required to make these cars a realistic proposition for UK consumers.

“UK H2Mobility will bring together industry expertise to establish the UK as a serious global player in the manufacture and use of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and the supporting infrastructure.”

Jerry Hardcastle, Vice-President for Vehicle Design and Development at Nissan, added, “This is an important step for the automotive sector towards the development of clean vehicle technologies and zero emission mobility. It will lay many of the foundations for the commercial deployment of hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles which could represent a large segment of the UK market in the coming years.”

Dr Henri Winand, Chief Executive of Intelligent Energy, said, “The UK H2Mobility is a ground-breaking industry led task force. Its job is to roll its sleeves up and ensure that the UK is well positioned for the commercial roll-out of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles from 2014/15 as part of a balanced portfolio of drivetrains.”

Kevin Michaelis, Regional Vice President, Liquid Bulk/Generated Gases-Europe, Air Products, said, “The hydrogen infrastructure sector has been working over a number of years to develop hydrogen transport in the UK. We are very pleased that the progress made is being recognised by the Government in this groundbreaking initiative that will shift the focus from R&D to deployment of hydrogen infrastructure.”

GM/Vauxhall have been investing in research and development of hydrogen fuel cell technologies for over a decade, and at today’s launch Vauxhall is presenting its fourth generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicle “HydroGen4”. With more than 100 fuel cell vehicles in Europe and the US logging around two million miles since 2008, Vauxhall expects the technology to be ready for market introduction by 2016.

Bill Parfitt, Vauxhall Motors’ Director for Government Affairs and Public Policy, said, “Following our company’s unrelenting focus on hydrogen fuel cell technology development, the launch and successful roll-out of these vehicles will now depend on the availability of hydrogen to the consumer in a real life environment.  We therefore greatly appreciate this very timely initiative, gathering various stakeholders, under government lead, to establish an adequate strategy for future hydrogen development in the UK.”

Toyota has been researching fuel cell technology and hydrogen storage for almost 20 years and in 2002 its first generation of Fuel Cell Vehicles underwent field tests in Japan and the US.

Didier Leroy, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe, said, “We plan to commercialise Fuel Cell Vehicles in 2015 and to achieve this goal a hydrogen charging infrastructure will be required. That is why we welcome the establishment of the UK H2Mobility Group to confirm the potential for hydrogen as a low carbon fuel in the UK. A close and positive working relationship between vehicle manufacturers, infrastructure companies and Government is of vital importance.”

UK H2Mobility will deliver its evaluation of the potential of hydrogen as a transport fuel by the end of 2012. If the results are positive, an action plan will be developed to work through the steps needed to get the UK ready to be one of the first markets for the global commercial roll out of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles.

Click through to read about the work of the Automotive Council in developing low carbon vehicles and fuels in the UK.

The 13 industry participants in UK H2Mobility listed below are working together with three government departments – The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, The Department for Transport and the Department for Energy and Climate Change in addition to the European Fuel Cells & Hydrogen Joint Undertaking.

Industry signatory parties to the Memorandum of Understanding are:

  • Air Liquide Hydrogen Energy, SA
  • Air Products PLC
  • Daimler AG
  • Hyundai Motor Company
  • Intelligent Energy Limited
  • ITM Power PLC
  • Johnson Matthey PLC
  • Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Limited
  • Scottish and Southern Energy plc
  • Tata Motors European Technical Centre plc
  • The BOC Group Limited
  • Toyota Motor Corporation
  • Vauxhall Motors


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