Government pushes for hydrogen infrastructure

Nick Clegg
31 Jan, 2014 12:07pm Steve Fowler

Hydrogen power part of new ultra low carbon Government support package

The focus of the Government’s new Go Ultra Low campaign may have been plug-in vehicles with deputy prime minister Nick Clegg casting his eye over the BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe, Toyota Prius and Vauxhall Ampera, but hydrogen powered cars are very much on the Government’s radar.

BMW i3 vs rivals: electric car triple test

Speaking exclusively to Auto Express at the Go Ultra Low launch at London’s Ace Café, secretary of state for transport, Robert Goodwill, said: “The Government is an active participant in the joint industry-Government UKH2Mobility project, which was launched in January 2012 to evaluate the potential of hydrogen for transport.”

“The project’s work is ongoing and has highlighted some potential options and choices for both Government and industry stakeholders. These will be considered by participants over the next few months.”

• Nick Clegg launches 'Go Ultra Low' with £9.3m investment

Mr Goodwill also hinted that funding would be available for hydrogen fuel projects in the future: “The Government is now considering responses received following the call for evidence to inform the design of the £500m package of Government support for ultra low emission vehicles between 2015-2020. Any interventions from Government for the roll-out of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and the associated refuelling infrastructure will be determined in the context of that wider package of support.”

Infrastructure for electric cars will receive a big boost from Government funding with additional cash being made available for ultra-fast charging points, according to Nick Clegg. He also told us that Tesla founder Elon Musk has been asked to advise the Government on the technology.

Answering questions from Auto Express readers about the lack of a national recharging scheme, Robert Goodwill said: “Drivers need to have the confidence that they can charge their vehicle with ease whilst going about their daily lives.”

“Since April 2013 all publically accessible charge points funded by the government have to have pay as you go functionality, ensuring that anyone can use them without having to sign-up to a membership scheme or carry a variety of membership cards around with them.”

“We have also seen the emergence of roaming agreements between regional schemes, which allow members of one scheme to use chargepoints in neighbouring schemes.”

Nick Clegg also told Auto Express that his family car is currently a Ford Galaxy, but he hoped that there would soon be an ultra-low CO2 car that would be suitable for him with his three children.

• Toyota to launch hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in 2015
UK hydrogen plans revealed