Hydrogen car plan gets major backing

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A CRANFIELD company is part of a major project to bring hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles to the UK market.

Nissan’s European Technical Centre is in Cranfield, near Milton Keynes, and employs around 500 people.

The new programme – UKH2Mobility – will evaluate the potential for hydrogen as a fuel for ultra low carbon vehicles in the UK before developing an action plan for an anticipated roll-out to consumers in 2014/15.

The project was launched by business minister Mark Prisk on Wednesday.

The group brings together the government and industrial participants from the utility, gas, infrastructure and global car manufacturing sectors. Vauxhall Motors is also a key player.

And the companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to agree to share their knowledge and expertise.

Mr 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.”

Jerry Hardcastle, vice-president for vehicle design and development at Nissan said: “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. With this comprehensive list of partners we can be assured to have all the knowledge necessary to make UKH2 Mobility an exhaustive and credible study.”