In the run-up to last Christmas I wrote a big, green eco-xmas gift list that included a little toy car called the H-racer as a gift idea for boys of all ages. At the time I called it “a futuristic toy car containing one of the most exciting and advanced technologies of the 21st century”, and I suppose that is what it remains. But I didn’t imagine when writing that last November that just 8 months later I’d be hearing about the first zero-emissions hydrogen 4×4 taking to the streets of London. It’s still pretty futuristic because the technology is still too expensive to produce the car commercially, but as will most technologies, that should change as the demand for it grows.
The Nissan 4×4 FCV (fuel cell vehicle) challenges the view that 4-wheel drive vehicles are gas guzzlers by emitting only a few drops of water over the 300 miles that it can travel on a full tank of hydrogen.
The Environmental Transport Association’s Andrew Davis test drove the Nissan X-Trail FCV. This is what he has to say about the experience:
The first thing I noticed as I pulled into Exhibition Road, Kensington was that pedestrians did not look up to see my approach – the vehicle is near silent at urban speeds. This made me even more attentive to ensure I did not run down someone who was relying on their hearing to check for traffic. I was also very concerned that I was in control of a demonstration vehicle priced at around £1•5m. It was also ironic that I was driving what many would consider a ‘Chelsea tractor’ a stone’s throw from Chelsea itself.
Fuel Cell Cars are Here [ETA]
As the viability of hydrogen powered vehicles continues to increase (have you seen the price of petrol lately?), hydrogen stations are starting to pop up in the UK. The first opened in April 2008, with another 11 expected to be operating by 2010. Channel 4 news looked at the opening of the first hydrogen fuel station back in April.