Hydrogen cars to be tested in Leicester

The first large-scale trial of private hydrogen-fuelled cars on British roads is to take place in Leicester in the Spring of 2012.

Riversimple has struck a deal with the city council there for a pilot scheme that will lease the company’s innovative cars to 30 of the city’s.

Riversimple and Leicester council will jointly recruit 30 drivers and will collaborate on setting up a hydrogen refuelling point in the city.

Riversimple will retain ownership of the cars in the Leicester trial. Drivers will pay a fixed monthly fee of £200 and a fuel-inclusive variable charge of 15p per mile to use the vehicles.

“Leasing will allow you to create different service offers for different customer groups, as in the mobile phone industry,” said Riversimple.

A main criticism of fuel cell vehicles is that energy is wasted in manufacturing hydrogen to power them. Riversimple claims, however, that their cars will generate only 31 grammes of CO2 per km, compared with 63 grammes for a comparable vehicle fuelled with electricity from a natural gas power station.

Council cabinet member Abdul Osman said “This confirms Leicester’s status as a city which is leading the way in environmental terms”.

If the vehicles prove popular, the council also says a factory building 5,000 cars a year could be set up in the city.

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