Drivers to test new hydrogen car

Motorists in Leicester will be able to drive around in a new hydrogen fuel-cell powered car as part of a first-of-its-kind pilot project.

Shropshire manufacturer Riversimple has signed an agreement with Leicester City Council to have 30 of its 'green' cars leased to the public for a 12-month trial starting from spring 2012.

The car is a two-seater that can go from 0-30mph in 5.5 seconds, reaching a top speed of 50mph. It delivers a range of 200 miles on a single tank of hydrogen, the equivalent of 300mpg on petrol.

Local government officials, private customers, businesses and car-share schemes will be able to lease the vehicle for about £200 a month plus mileage.

Ludlow-based Riversimple, which has spent nearly £3 million developing the technology and the prototype, says if the project is successful it will consider building a manufacturing unit in Leicester. The factory will employ 250 people and produce 5,000 cars annually.

Part of the project involves identifying suitable places for hydrogen pumps where drivers can refuel. The only waste produced by the car is a few drops of water.

Hugo Spowers, the founder of Riversimple, said: "Contrary to what we usually hear, sustainable, near pollution-free transport is possible, here and now, using existing technology."

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