Honda opens first UK hydrogen fuelling station
Drivers that fancy sidestepping the battery-powered route to zero-emissions motoring now have an alternative, sort of, as Honda opens the UK's first public hydrogen fuel station.
It's located at Honda's South Marsden plant, and gives drivers in the Swindon the realistic prospect of owning a hydrogen-powered Honda FCX Clarity for the first time...should Honda decide to make it available in the UK, that is.
At the moment, Honda has "no plans" to bring it or any hydrogen car. No other manufacturer offers one in the UK either. So what's the point?
Honda sees the station, which was actually paid for by chemicals company BOC, as a rallying cry to the Government to kick start a hydrogen infrastructure that will allow the technology to flourish in the UK; in the US, California governor Arnie helped set up a handful of hydrogen stations and took delivery of a Clarity of his own.
Honda reckons that hydrogen power is the way forward when it comes to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. It is cheap, abundant and when used as fuel produces nothing but water as a byproduct.
Mike Huggon of BOC said: "We need Government commitment to make this work across the country as a whole. We can provide the tools but the Government has to create the policy framework in which we can build the low carbon infrastructure of tomorrow."
Hydrogen cars work using a fuel cell that transforms the gas into electrical energy to drive the car. It thus eradicates the long charging times and 'range anxiety' associated with battery-powered cars.
It's not without drawbacks though: hydrogen is extremely flammable and must be stored in a highly pressurised fuel tank, which poses a big explosion risk if ruptured.
However, Honda's chief of electrical powertrain development Thomas Brachmann calls hydrogen "the ultimate transport solution, meeting environmental demands but also delivering the range and performance that customers expect".