Analysis
20 Jan 20

Hydrogen fleet exceeds 1.6million km threshold

A fleet of hydrogen fuel cell cars in London has passed the one million miles (1.6million km) threshold, saving tonnes of carbon dioxide and producing zero nitrogen oxide emissions and no particulates. The only exhaust emission is water.

The 27 Toyota Mirai cars are operated by Green Tomato Cars, a private hire taxi service that only uses low emission vehicles.

Green Tomato Cars started a trial of two Mirais in 2015, but the majority of the 1 million miles have been covered in the past 18 months following the addition of 25 more fuel cell vehicles. Each car covers an average of 120 miles (190km) per day.

Hydrogen car running costs similar to Prius

Jonny Goldstone, founder and CEO of Green Tomato Cars, said the day-to-day running costs of the hydrogen cars are comparable with a Toyota Prius, refueling takes the same time as a conventional petrol or diesel car, and the range is 300 miles (480km) per refill.

“We’ve been really impressed by the performance of our Mirai fleet,” said Goldstone. “Our passengers love them because it means they can travel as responsibly as possible, and so do our drivers.”

Green Tomato cars now taken delivery of a further 25 Mirais, increasing its fleet to 50, as part of a a €26million demonstration project called ZEFER. In Paris, Brussels and London, ZEFER will deploy 180 fuel cell electric vehicles to deomstrate their business case; 170 of the hydrogen cars will be taxi or private hire vehicles and the remaining 10 will be used by police forces.

Hydrogen solves air quality issues

ZEFER is part-funded by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, where Bart Biebuyck, FCH JU Executive Director, said: “Today, the air quality in cities is a central issue and the introduction of zero-emission vehicles is a needed shift to decarbonise urban transport. The fleet of 50 hydrogen fuel cell taxis operated by Green Tomato Cars in London is a flagship initiative showing that zero-emission solutions exist, do not change the way taxis are operating, and make economic sense. I trust that other cities in the UK and in Europe will soon realise the benefits of hydrogen mobility.”

Last October, 13 hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles travelled 6,000km from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Norway to converge in Hamburg for a clean transport conference.

Hydrogen refuelling infrastructure

The number of hydrogen refuelling stations is rising, but currently there are only 139 across Europe, including 12 in the UK and 6 in London. 

Toyota has sold 10,000 Mirais worldwide, and at the Tokyo Motor Show the manufacturer unveiled the second generation Mirai (pictured above), scheduled for launch in Europe later this year. Toyota is targeting a 30 per cent increase in Mirai’s driving range through improvements to the fuel cell system and the use of larger on-board hydrogen tanks.

Authored by: Jonathan Manning
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