Seven years from now, it won’t be possible to buy a new petrol or diesel car if you are a consumer. The deadline for ending the same of fossil-fuelled commercial vehicles is 2040 right now, but that could be pulled back in to as early as 2035.
While it’s certainly possible to run 26-ton trucks on batteries, having an alternative plan seems prudent to Business Secretary Grant Shapps – and he’s authorised an investment of £15 million from the Government’s Advanced Propulsion Centre into HVS (Hydrogen Vehicle Systems).
Hydrogen could be a good option for certain transport modes – as long as its Green Hydrogen and not Blue, Grey, Brown, Black or any other colour option that indicates that it has been made by the petrochemical industry.
In its ideal form, hydrogen is generated through pollution-free/renewable sources and is used to poser electric motors in lorries, boats and other vehicles.
When it comes to recharging batteries, right now, the UK has 60,000 connectors running off 37,000 devices in 22,000 locations across the UK.
For hydrogen, there are less than 20.
The challenge for infrastructure alone is going to be immense – especially when you factor in just how explosive hydrogen can be and the fact that it is stored in containers that are pressurised up to 10,000 psi. If you have been near a car tyre when it blows at less than 50 psi, you’ll understand what a challenge ‘pressurised hydrogen’ could present.
Still, the possibility of emission-free 40 ton lorries moving goods around the country with electric motors powered by green hydrogen – is actually very appealing.
Ian Constance, Chief Executive at the APC, told WhichEV, “Supporting vital research and development in the UK, now more than ever, provides an opportunity to invest in transport decarbonisation as well as boost growth in the automotive sector”.
The Government-funded test will start with a 5.5 ton proof of concept before expanding out to larger vehicles.
The implications for fleet managers could be massive. More options coming through should improve choice and flexibility.