Launched at the Royal Society, thirteen industry participants, three government departments and the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to share knowledge and expertise in an effort to evaluate the potential for hydrogen as a fuel for so-called "Ultra Low Carbon Vehicles" in the UK before developing an action plan for an anticipated roll-out to consumers in 2014/15.
The more cynical of us might view this new programme as the industry aiming to catch up with Honda, who are well ahead of the game on this, not only with a car in production, but launching the first UK hydrogen refuelling station.
The advantages of hydrogen fuel cells over the rather idiotic idea of using batteries to power vehicles are clear - refuelling takes minutes instead of days and performance is more typical when compared to petrol engines.
The industry participants so far are:
- Air Liquide, SA
- Air Products PLC
- Daimler AG
- Hyundai Motor Company
- Intelligent Energy Limited
- ITM Power PLC
- Johnson Matthey PLC
- Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Limited
- Scottish and Southern Energy plc
- Tata Motors European Technical Centre plc
- The BOC Group Limited
- Toyota Motor Corporation
- Vauxhall Motors
While Honda are not taking part, some competition in this area can only be a good thing.