Seven Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) from Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota have visited Cardiff, Bristol, Swindon and London as part of the European Hydrogen Road Tour 2012.
It started in Hamburg two weeks ago, passing through Germany, Italy and included the Paris Motor Show on the way to the UK before it finishes in Denmark next week.
Get a FREE quote on your next
Click below and save up to 30% on a new
Get a FREE quote on your new car
Click below and save up to 30% on a new car
At the three UK venues, the organisers hope to have given driving and riding experiences to about 1,000 people. It is the largest gathering of FCEVs in the UK and precedes the planned launch of similar vehicles into Britain from 2015. By then, it is expected to have a network of refuelling stations set up around the country at strategic places.
Unlike pure electric vehicles, the FCEVs can be refueled in a few minutes and can travel over 300 miles, with the gas costing less than petrol and diesel today.
The real attraction of hydrogen is that it can be manufactured from a variety of sources and is often a by-product of industrial or waste processes so there is a never ending supply and the only emission is pure water.
Major car makers have said they will start introducing FCEVs into their ranges by 2015 but
they need to raise their public profile led to the trans-European tour with driving and riding opportunities and it has been organized by the H2moves Scandinavia project funded by the European Commission.
Not only are fuel cells far more energy efficient than internal combustion engines but they have far fewer moving parts, are completely silent and total running costs are less than fossil fuelled vehicles.
As part of the UK visit, which will took in the H2O facility at Honda, Swindon, experts highlighted the business opportunities for supplying the fuel and network, discussed opportunities for UK automotive components' suppliers and answered questions from the public about its operation.
Leading automotive economist Prof. Garel Rhys said it was ironic that the fuel cell was invented 180 years ago in Britain but it was only now about to be seen in everyday cars after electric and internal combustion engines dominated the automotive industry in the 20th century.
"A few years ago we were told fuel cell vehicles would not be appearing on our roads until 2025, but that view has changed and now the first will be with us in three years time," said Prof Rhys.