HyFive Hydrogen Refuelling station
Hydrogen cars lined up at the opening of the Hyfive refuelling station
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FCEV £2m grants timetable

  • 8 May – Launch of competition
  • 27 May – Workshop for potential bidders
  • 4 July – Deadline for submission of bids
  • Beginning of August – Announcement of winning bids
  • 30 April 2017 – Completion of FCEV deployment
  • 30 April 2020 -End of Support for FCEV operation and conclusion of projects
  • For details of fleet funding click here

THE RACE is on for a slice of £2m hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle incentives – offering up to 75% savings on top of the business tax advantages.

The government cash is not a huge carrot, with the fund split into two streams – one for private and business fleet operations and the other for the public sector – but substantial savings for the winners. However bids must be in by July 4, which gives less than two months.

The scheme will fund up to 75% of the total cost of procuring fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), insurance, fleet management, vehicle servicing, user training, fuel, project reporting and dissemination

The launch accompanies the opening of a new hi-tech hydrogen refuelling site in Teddington, Greater London. Developed in partnership with ITM Power, the new filling station is based at Teddington’s National Physical Laboratory, and is just the first of five new hydrogen sites planned for the London area this year.

It joins other stations in Hendon, Heathrow, Swindon and Sheffield, and is the latest new filling station to be opened as part of the British government’s £6.6 million hydrogen infrastructure investment strategy.

Objectives of the FCEV Fleet Support scheme:

  • Increase public and private sector fleet uptake of FCEVs,
  • Raise awareness of FCEV technology,
  • Evaluate fleet and user experience, and disseminate lessons learned,
  • Support utilisation of hydrogen refuelling stations,
  • Establish a precedent for FCEV third party leasing and rental.

Part of the investment will also include the building of the four additional hydrogen stations in and around London, including one in Rainham, East London, near to Canary Wharf.

Hyundai has welcomed the advances, with its ix35 Fuel Cell car already in use by businesses such as Johnson Mathey, TfL, Air Products, ITM Power and Anglo American, Hyundai has seen demand grow in line with developments in the refuelling infrastructure. There are nearly 400 ix35 Fuel Cells on the road globally and 15 in the UK.

Hyundai Motor UK CEO, Tony Whitehorn said: “When we made the ix35 Fuel Cell commercially available we were blazing a trail, and we made a commitment to help in the development of the refuelling infrastructure – the fruits of which can clearly be seen with this, and other station launches happening this year.

“We also know how well received the ix35 Fuel Cell is with our existing fleet customers so we’re very happy to be involved with the government’s new £2m fund to encourage more businesses to switch to hydrogen.”

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Vision behind £2m hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle aid

Grant bid criteria

The competition assessment criteria are designed to ensure value for money by favouring bids with:

  • Low cost per vehicle,
  • Low cost hydrogen supply,
  • High vehicle utilisation,
  • Widest exposure of fleet drivers and the wider public to FCEV technology,
  • Displacement of conventional fleet vehicles in areas of poor air quality

The £2m grant scheme was announced by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) which said: “Our vision is that by 2050 almost every car and van in the UK will be zero emission at the tailpipe, with the UK at the forefront of their design, development and manufacture, making us one of the most attractive locations for ultra low emission vehicle (ULEV) related inward investment in the world.

“This will require almost all new cars and vans to be zero tailpipe emissions from 2040. Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) have the potential to feature significantly in the future automotive low emission vehicle landscape in a portfolio of solutions alongside battery electric vehicles.

“FCEVs offer an attractive consumer proposition in terms of long driving range and short refuelling times and with zero CO2 and pollutant emissions at the tailpipe.

“The specific objective of this competition is to support the early development of the market for FCEVs as a technology that has a strategic role in helping deliver the Government’s ambition that almost all new cars and vans will be zero tailpipe emission vehicles by 2040.

“The competition does not extend to supporting hydrogen internal combustion engined vehicles as this is not a zero tailpipe emission technology and so does not contribute to delivering the Government’s 2040 ambition.

“OLEV recognises that these vehicles, could however, play a role in providing additional demand for the early Hydrogen Refuelling Stations (HRSs).”

Dr Graham Cooley, ITM Power’s chief executive, said: ”The opening of five public access hydrogen refueling stations in London before the end of 2016 is a big task for us, but car manufacturers like Hyundai have already made huge advancements in hydrogen technology and we’re very excited to be at the cutting edge with them.”

  • The Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell is powered by a 136PS electric motor, and is fitted with two hydrogen fuel tanks that allow for a total range of around 369 miles. Priced at £53,105 OTR (including part-funding from the Europe-wide HyFive project) it’s available for immediate order directly from Hyundai Motor UK.
  • What’s it like to drive? See our review on Hyundai’s hydrogen-fuelled record attempt
  • And if you’re not successful with a bid for this FCEV grant aid, it’s still worth checking How to reduce your company car tax with ultra low emission vehicles

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