Leicester will play host to the first long term test of hydrogen cars on public roads when 30 cars hit the streets in 2012.
Riversimple, a British company based in Shropshire, has announced that it will be testing 30 of the vehicles for a 12 month period, starting in the spring of 2012.
The company claims that the two-seater Riversimple car has a range of 240 miles and has a top speed of 50mph. It should manage the equivalent of 300mpg. It will be leased to a variety of users, including businesses, fleet drivers, car sharing clubs and private individuals. Customers will pay around £200 a month to lease the cars, and then pay 15p a mile, in a scheme similar to a mobile phone contract.
Leicester council will work with the users to set up appropriate fuelling stations. Should the scheme be a success, then Riversimple has said it will aim to produce 5,000 cars a year, and would consider building a factory in Leicester to do so.
Chris Huhne, the energy and climate change secretary, has leant his support to the scheme, saying: "A radical transformation of our transport network is needed in the next forty years and this is another great example of British innovation developing low carbon solutions to bring that about."