Metropolitan Police trials hydrogen scooter

The UK's largest police service is seeking to combat London's toxic air crisis through the trial of a hydrogen fuel cell scooter as a patrol vehicle.

An 18-month pilot of seven zero-emission Suzuki Burgman scooters will help The Metropoliton Police understand where hydrogen could be adopted across its fleet in the future.

Police Community Support Officers (PCSO) will carry out road patrols on the vehicles, which are being loaned from Suzuki at no cost. Fuel and maintenance expenses will be met by a collaborative project, part funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre, which involves UK-based fuel cell technology firm Intelligent Energy and not-for-profit consultancy Cenex.

Met Police commander Neil Jerome for territorial policing said: “Being the UK’s largest police service we constantly have vehicles on the roads and therefore it is our aim to make our fleet as clean as we can, whilst maintaining operational capability.

“We are thankful to Suzuki and our partners and look forward with optimism about this trial. Through collaborative partnerships and innovative testing such as this, we can gain real-life experience of how we can progress our ambition and create a cleaner fleet that will benefit London and the service we provide.”

Clean bill

The scooters, which have a range of 75 miles, will be housed in central London and will be charged at a private refuelling station. The trial forms part of the Met Police’s overarching plan to decarbonise its fleet – the police service has stopped buying diesel cars and has put forward an ambition to procure 550 zero or ultra-low emission vehicles by 2020.

Suzuki GB confirmed that operational data from the trial will be used to support zero-emission vehicle development programmes.

“Suzuki are extremely honoured to be able to showcase the Burgman Fuel Cell and gain valuable feedback from this important trial with the Met,” the firm’s managing director Nobuo Suyama said. “Deploying these vehicles into service with the Met marks a significant milestone in the extensive development of this ground-breaking technology.”

Hydro charge

Hydrogen vehicles are finally beginning to filter into the market after spending 20 years being fine-tuned in R&D. The UK currently has two models available in the forms of the Toyota Mirai and the Hyundai ix35 – the latter of which has been dispelling myths about driving range after shattering records during a demonstration drive in London last year. 

In April, the world’s only independent hydrogen fuel cell vehicle manufacturer, Welsh firm Riversimple, exceeded its crowdfunding target of £1m which will enable the UK trial of innovative and affordable hydrogen cars.

Two weeks ago, edie reported that a British manufacturer had launched a new hydrogen additive technology that can reportedly reduce engine emissions by as much as 80% and offer up to a 20% improvement in fuel efficiency.

George Ogleby

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