Honda and other leading motor manufacturers, hydrogen fuel suppliers and energy consultancies from around the globe met in London this week to sign a £31m agreement coordinated by the Mayor of London’s Office, to develop and demonstrate technology and infrastructure that will help fuel cell electric vehicles to become a viable and environmentally friendly option for European motorists in the future.
The pioneering deal, known as the HyFIVE project (Hydrogen For Innovative Vehicles), is the largest of its kind in Europe. Honda is one of five manufacturers who have agreed to deploy a total of 110 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles at several European locations and develop new clusters of hydrogen refuelling stations.
The motor manufacturers who are part of this project are working on developing and demonstrating hydrogen powered fuel cell cars. This cutting edge technology uses hydrogen gas combined with oxygen from the atomosphere to generate electric power with no harmful tailpipe emissions – only water vapour. They have the potential to be more than twice as fuel-efficient as conventionally powered vehicles and operate very quietly. The technology allows for rapid re-fuelling times and the potential to cover over 400 miles before needing to be re-fuelled.
The potential for fuel cell electric vehicles to become widely available is now seen as increasingly likely as the cost of the technology is reducing and infrastructure is being improved.
For Honda, the HyFIVE project is a unique opportunity to showcase the advancements that Honda has made relating to fuel cell technology and fuel cell electric vehicle development.
Honda has been leading the development and deployment of fuel-cell technology for almost two decades and has undertaken extensive real world testing, making significant advancements in fuel-cell operation and working to meet stringent emissions and safety regulations.
Honda’s next generation FCEV will be launched in Europe in early 2016. It follows the FCX Clarity which was launched in 2008 and is currently running in the German Demonstration Project: Clean Energy Partnership. This participation allowed Honda to gain valuable information in order to further improve and develop its technology.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “To sell this technology we need to show Londoners and the wider world that it is not science fiction. By building the vehicles and the filling stations and allowing people to kick the tyres we will be able to demonstrate that hydrogen is a viable option and that London is at the forefront of efforts to make it so.”
Bert De Colvenaer, Executive Director of the FCH JU (Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking), said: “With a total of 110 FCEVs and 6 new refuelling stations, HyFIVE will represent the largest single project of its kind financed by the FCH JU. The high level of technology readiness of this zero emission transport technology will be showcased in 5 European Member States, thus ensuring a broad geographical outreach. In addition, the project will also contribute to the build-up of the first networks at local levels necessary to support the market introduction of the vehicles in the coming years. With the participation of leading automakers and infrastructure providers, HyFIVE illustrates the commitment from leading industrial players in the EU and the spirit of cooperation that I am convinced will enable the success of these technologies.“