Green Tomato revs up fleet of 50 Toyota Mirai fuel cell saloons
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling today pulled up outside Tate Britain in one of the UK’s first zero emission fuel cell taxis, making him one of the first people to drive one of the 50 new Toyota Mirai’s unveiled today by green cab specialist Green Tomato Cars.
The private hire firm, which operates a fleet of hybrid and other low emission vehicles, has launched one of the world’s largest zero emission taxi fleets. It follows a successful trial involving two Mirais that have now clocked up over 25,000 miles a year of journeys since 2015.
Grayling joined Jonny Goldstone, Green Tomato Cars co-founder and managing director, and Paul Van der Burgh, Toyota GB president and managing director, in making the short journey from the Department for Transport in Westminster to Tate Britain.
“I was thoroughly impressed by the Toyota Mirai today and was delighted to be the first to drive one of Green Tomato Cars’ new zero-emission vehicles,” Grayling said. “Improvements in hydrogen infrastructure over the last year and the developing partnerships between the hydrogen power providers, manufacturers of hydrogen vehicles and end users, is helping accelerate the decarbonisation of road transport.”
The new cars are being supplied with support from the UK’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), Hydrogen For Transport Programme, and the EU’s Zero Emission Fleet vehicles For European Roll-Out (ZEFER) programme, which are also supporting the roll out of hydrogen cars by the Metropolitan Police and car hire firm Europcar. In total almost 200 fuel cell cars are expected to be deployed through the joint initiative.
Goldstone said the company was “delighted with the performance of our two original Toyota Mirai” and was now keen to scale up the use of zero emission vehicles across the capital.
“This is a unique project where investors in hydrogen technology, manufacturers of hydrogen cars and Green Tomato Cars as the end users, have come together with a commitment to make hydrogen transport work for the good of the people and the environment,” he said. “We’d like to thank OLEV, the FCH JU and Toyota for their support in helping us acquire such a significant number of these innovative cars.”
Toyota’s Paul Van der Burgh said the deal was a vote of confidence in hydrogen technology. “We’re delighted that Green Tomato Cars have been happy with their Toyota Mirai cars and that they are taking 50 more,” he said. “It’s clear that confidence in hydrogen powered transport is growing among end users, which is another step in the path towards a hydrogen society.”
The investment in the expanded fleet comes as new charging infrastructure starts to come online. There are now six hydrogen refuelling stations operational within the M25 and more are planned before the end of the year.
The Mirai’s boast a range of up to 300 miles between refuelling – more than double the average daily distance travelled by Green Tomato’s cars.
Advocates of hydrogen fuel cell technology argue that it not only delivers zero emission motoring, but it also provides a refuelling experience and range that is similar to conventional cars while offering a means to store renewable energy through the production of hydrogen.
However, critics counter that significant investment in new refuelling infrastructure is still required and the technology remains expensive relative to both conventional vehicles and battery electric cars.
SOURCE: Business Green