London Hydrogen Network Expansion Project Aims At New Hydrogen Car Records

Posted on Mar 7 2016 - 5:28am by Jeff Dunham

A group of companies is aiming to set two new records for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles as part of Hydrogen Week (March 11-18), with a continuous five-day and five-night drive around the M25.

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Working together, the partners of the government-backedLondon Hydrogen Network Expansion project (LHNE) will attempt to set new records for the longest journey on one tank of hydrogen (existing record 435 miles) and the longest continuous FCEV journey (6,024 miles).

The record attempts, which will start on Monday, March 14, are part of the project’s efforts to increase awareness of the benefits of hydrogen-fuelled cars and their environmental credentials. Hydrogen FCEVs produce no harmful tailpipe emissions with water being the only by-product. With range and refuelling times similar to those of petrol or diesel cars, they can be seen as direct replacements for conventional vehicles.

A series of drivers, including members of the media, will take the wheel of a Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle which will complete approximately 50 clockwise laps of the M25 between Monday and Friday next week.

LHNE, co-funded by Innovate UK, was set up in 2012 to create the UK’s first hydrogen-powered transport system across London and the South East. It has delivered a new publicly-accessible, state-of-the-art fast-fill SmartFuel hydrogen refuelling station and upgraded a second to the requisite 700 bar pressure status.

Hyundai Motor’s ix35 Fuel Cell car has been commercially available since 2014 and, last year, Toyota introduced its Mirai FCEV to the market. Honda, Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen and Audi are among several manufacturers known to be developing FCEVs to be launched in the coming years.

The LHNE partners are now keen for the adoption of hydrogen fuel cell technology to accelerate in the UK but one of the main challenges is the limited coverage of refuelling stations to support the vehicles. There are currently six stations in the UK, including the two public Air Products SmartFuel stations in London and funding is in place for at least 12 to be operational in England and Scotland within the next 12 months.