Highways maintenance firm Connect Plus Services has teamed up with Toyota to successfully trial a hydrogen fuel-cell car on the M25.
Daily motorway safety inspections were carried out during a two-week trial of the Toyota Mirai vehicle in September.
If the trial results are considered positive, it is expected that Connect Plus Services will use the hydrogen-fuel vehicles across its fleet of 12 cars that carry out motorway safety inspections on the strategic road network.
Hydrogen cars offer savings in the form of reduced fuel costs, and leave less of an environmental footprint than petrol and diesel fuelled cars.
The only waste product produced by driving the cars is water. The fuel-cell technology in the vehicles converts pressurised hydrogen gas, stored in built-in tanks, into energy that powers an electric motor.
Connect Plus Services managing director Brian Johns said: “We are delighted to have trialled the hydrogen powered Toyota Mirai on our network. This is a prime example of how we are embracing new technology to deliver our contract to the highest standard.
“Through continuous innovation, we are committed to developing cost effective and environmentally friendly solutions to drive the network forward and create better journeys for the travelling public.”
Toyota alternative fuels manager Jon Hunt added: “We are delighted to support this trial to demonstrate that the Mirai, with a quick refill time and long range is a no-compromise zero emission solution.”
News of the trial follows claims earlier this year from train manufacturer Alstom that hydrogen-powered trains could be operating in the UK in as little as “three to four years”.
The train manufacturer confirmed plans to bring the technology to the UK and announced that it was already working with Eversholt Rail to convert Class 321 electric trains by fitting hydrogen tanks and fuel cells to “upcycle” the trains.
Alstom announced the move in response to the UK government’s plans to remove diesel rolling stock by 2040.
Like what you’ve read? To receive New Civil Engineer’s daily and weekly newsletters click here.