Why more UK drivers could soon be choosing hydrogen-powered cars

The Government has revealed a new hydrogen strategy that aims to help the UK use the green fuel to power everything from homes to cars...

Hyundai Nexo

The UK’s first-ever hydrogen strategy has been launched in a bid to make the nation a world leader in this new technology. 

Government analysis suggests that 20-35% of the UK’s energy consumption could be hydrogen-based by 2050, so this new energy source could play a vital role in helping us cut emissions and meet our net-zero target by 2050. 

It's estimated that a low-carbon hydrogen economy could deliver 9000 high-quality jobs and unlock £4 billion worth of investment by 2030, making it a key part of the cleaner energy sources that will help us replace fossil fuels.

 The new strategy will also promote the expansion of the infrastructure that’s needed for more people to switch to hydrogen vehicles and encourage the introduction of a wider selection of hydrogen models. 

Toyota Mirai

At present, car buyers only have two options when it comes to hydrogen-powered cars – the Hyundai Nexo and Toyota Mirai – but as the support and infrastructure for the technology grows, the number of models using it could also increase. And there are only 14 hydrogen fuel filling stations in the UK and most of these are in the South East of England, so a hydrogen car might not be practical for those who need to do lots of long journeys. 

However, filling up a hydrogen car is far easier and quicker than replenishing the batteries in an electric car, because it’s simply a case of plugging the fuel pump into the car in a similar way to filling a petrol or diesel car, and waiting a couple of minutes for the tank to fill. So, creating more filling stations is certain to add to the appeal of these zero-emissions vehicles.

Hyundai Nexo

Although hydrogen is a relatively expensive fuel to buy – it costs around £10 for a kilogram – an average hydrogen car tank only holds 5kg of fuel, so filling up costs around the same as it would for an average-sized petrol or diesel model. And once it's filled up, a hydrogen car can travel for around 500 miles, which is far more than any current battery-electric option. 

Alongside the launch of the new hydrogen strategy, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps unveiled the winners of a £2.5m research and development competition for hydrogen transport pilots in the Tees Valley area, which will lead to supermarkets, emergency services and delivery companies using hydrogen-powered transport to move goods and carry out local services.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Next: Revealed - the true cost of owning an electric car >>