The UK-based division of Europcar—a major European auto rental company—announced this week that it will add hydrogen-powered vehicles to its fleet. The company will take delivery of several Toyota Mirai fuel-cell sedans after securing a grant of about $215,000 from UK’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). This funding is part of a $43.5 million package provided by the UK government to increase adoption of ultra-low emission vehicles.
“We have a clear objective to create a zero-emissions fleet,” said Gary Smith, managing director, Europcar UK Group. “With support from the OLEV grant we are even closer to this important milestone.” The Mirai cars will be added to Brunel, a London-based ride-hailing business that was acquired by Europcar in September 2016. Brunel customers use a mobile app to obtain services from chauffeurs and executive drivers.
“The Mirai uses the Toyota fuel cell system, which has no combustion engine and features fuel- cell technology combined with hybrid technology,” said Jon Hunt, manager of fleet marketing for Toyota and Lexus. “Using hydrogen to generate electricity, the Mirai emits no CO2 or pollutants, achieving superior environmental performance without compromising on driving pleasure or convenience.”
Based on this announcement, Europcar now maintains one of the largest privately owned fleet of hydrogen cars in Europe. To fuel these cars, the company signed an agreement with ITM Power to utilize its refueling network. Hydrogen fuel will be supplied at the equivalent of about $12 dollars per kilogram.
“The adoption of hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles and our green hydrogen fuel continues to gather pace,” said Graham Cooley, chief executive at ITM. “We congratulate Europcar.” ITM supplies hydrogen for a number of UK-based firms and was awarded a contract with Hyundai earlier this month. Hyundai produces the Hyundai Tucson fuel-cell SUV (sold as the ix35 in the UK).
ITM Power recently opened a public hydrogen refueling station at the Centre of Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence (CEME) in Rainham, east London. At the Rainham location, hydrogen is made on-site using solar energy—the second such solar-powered hydrogen station in the UK. At ITM’s station in Rotherham, the hydrogen is generated on-site using wind energy.
The Rainham location is home to one of Toyota’s technical centers, where it provides training for hydrogen fuel-cell technology. Toyota also has hydrogen service centers in Swindon, Sheffield, Swansea and Aberdeen.