Motorists should have greater access to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, says trade body

Motorists in the public and private sector should have better access to hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) to help tackle air pollution, a national trade body has said.

The British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA) has said that FCEVs – a form of zero-emissions vehicle – are best placed to make an immediate benefit to air quality in the UK as water is the only waste product they emit.

However, the trade body has warned the potential of FCEVs will remain relatively untapped in the UK unless the government introduces a national fuelling infrastructure.

The BCGA’s comments come after the holding of the National Clean Air Summit in London last Thursday, which saw city leaders across the UK meet to call for new action on air pollution.

Doug Thornton, CEO of the BCGA, said: ‘Initiatives such as the National Clean Air Summit demonstrate there is a growing sense across the UK that much more needs to be done to tackle air pollution.

‘Against this background, there’s never been a better time to consider hydrogen. The technology is here and it is being used now. Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles run successfully in the UK, with most of the established filling sites and existing vehicles – including cars and buses – in use around London at present.

‘More needs to be done to ensure the UK benefits from this type of technology and we’d hope to see the issue raised at governmental, local authority and industry level to open up this opportunity.’

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions

Unlike battery-powered electric vehicles (BEVs), FCEVs use a hydrogen fuel cell instead of a battery to power the vehicle’s on-board electric motor.

The use of FCEVs remains relatively low in the UK, although they are becoming more popular in mainland Europe, America and Japan.

Proponents of fuel cell vehicles argue they will be better suited to cities where charging points for standard electric vehicles may be scarce.

However, FCEVs currently suffer from their own lack of charging infrastructure in the UK, meaning they have not taken off as much as hoped.

In 2017 the UK government announced £23m in infrastructure funding to boost the take-up of hydrogen vehicles, but the BCGA believe that extra investment is needed.

The BCGA has long been strong supporters of the take-up of hydrogen vehicles, with the stated aim of seeing hydrogen introduced on forecourts across the UK’s fuel station network.