MP backs new hydrogen-powered car to be tested in Leicester
Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne has praised a green car which is going to be tested on the streets of Leicester.
Thirty hydrogen-powered cars, which have a top speed of 50mph and can go 200 miles on one tank, will be leased to motorists in Leicester for £200 to £250 a month.
Sustainable firm Riversimple has signed a deal with Leicester City Council to test the cars.
Mr Huhne yesterday hailed the company's innovative design.
He said: "We need to harness cutting-edge technology to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels to tackle climate change.
"Nowhere is this more important than with passenger cars, which are responsible for almost 60 per cent of domestic transport emissions.
"A radical transformation of our transport network is needed in the next 40 years."
The Riversimple car uses a 6kw hydrogen fuel cell to create the electricity needed to power a motor attached to each wheel.
The vehicle emits nothing but a trickle of water from its exhaust.
However, the process of creating the hydrogen cell itself produces carbon dioxide.
If the cell is produced by burning natural gas, it creates the equivalent of 31g of CO2 for every kilometre.
If the gas is produced from a renewable source, that figure drops to 3g CO2/km. Its nearest petrol and diesel rivals emit 104g CO2/km and 103g CO2/km.
Environmental campaigners have backed the trial.
Malcolm Hunter, from the Leicester branch of Friends of the Earth, said: "Hydrogen is one of a number of technologies worth exploring and if it works it will make a big impact on reducing CO2 emissions."
The search is now on to find people to road test the green machines.
Health studies student Karen McKelvie, 45, of Thurnby Lodge, Leicester, said: "We need to look at greener ideas everywhere we can.
"There are far too many cars on our roads pumping out rubbish into the air, so if we can cut that back that is great."
Restaurant manager Bill Singh, 31, from Evington, said: "We definitely need to see if these cars will work and this deal shows that Leicester is forward-thinking.
"I've got a family so the car wouldn't work for me but if it was just me I'd give it a go."
Lawyer Beverley Heys, 45, from Arnesby, said: "I do not think I'd spend the money it costs to rent one for a month on my own car.
"The price would need to come down before I would drive it."