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West Midlands firm unveils hydrogen fuel cell car

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H2EV is powered by a 3kW fuel cell, which combines hydrogen with oxygen to create electricity to drive the car’s electric motors

Microcab, a spin-out company from Coventry University, has developed a hydrogen fuel cell car that will be used in a project to evaluate low carbon vehicles across the West Midlands.

The launch of H2EV hydrogen fuel cell vehicle comes just days after the UK’s first public hydrogen refuelling station was opened in Swindon. 

The H2EV is powered by a 3kW fuel cell, which combines hydrogen from an on-board pump with oxygen from the air to create electricity to drive the car’s electric motors and water - the car’s only emission - in a reverse electrolysis reaction.

Unlike a pure electric vehicle, whose only power source – a battery – can take hours to charge, the H2EV can be re-filled with hydrogen in a matter of minutes, and can run for 100 miles before needing a top up. The car incorporates a chassis designed by Microcab, and Delta Motorsport, and engineered by Lotus. 

A fleet of the zero-emission vehicles will be supplied to the West Midlands’ Coventry and Birmingham Low Emission Demonstrator (Cabled) demonstrator, a project set up to showcase and evaluate low carbon vehicles across the region.

John Jostins, managing director of Microcab and professor of sustainable transport design at Coventry University, said the Cabled trial would help create interest in fuel cell technology. He said: “It’s our hope that the H2EV, in conjunction with the burgeoning hydrogen fuelling infrastructure, will cultivate interest in and funding for the UK’s niche vehicle sector, particularly in the field of low emissions automotive technologies where the West Midlands has excelled for years.

“The H2EV represents a significant step in the development of hydrogen as an alternative energy source of the future for cars, and the launch of the new filling station in Swindon alongside the existing private stations at Coventry University and in Birmingham is another milestone for the low carbon industry.”

The role of Microcab and Coventry University in the Cabled trial will be to help examine and evaluate the social and economic impacts of running hydrogen fuel cell vehicles within a city environment, and ultimately gain a better understanding of the market potential of hydrogen as an alternative fuel.

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