Lex Autolease partners up for Hydrogen challenge

The UK’s biggest fleet management company – Lex Autolease – has teamed up with a university to take part in this year’s MPG Marathon.

The University of Birmingham will be using a fleet Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell to complete the challenge.

The challenge aims to highlight the benefit of fuel efficient driving, and acts as a showcase for some of the most innovative and eco-friendly cars on the road – including hydrogen power.

Competitors must achieve the highest possible MPG figure for the chosen vehicle which, in the University’s case, happens to be a hydrogen-powered Hyundai ix35 – one of its own fleet cars.

“The University of Birmingham is thrilled to be entering the Hyundai iX35 Fuel Cell into the MPG Marathon,” said Monica Guise, sustainable logistics manager for the University of Birmingham. “Supported by Lex Autolease and Fuel Cell Systems, the university will be driving the only hydrogen vehicle in this exciting marathon next month.”

Fleets are entitled to a new government grant until April 2017 that contributes the cost of up to 75% of a hydrogen powered car.

What is it like to drive a hydrogen car?

Like conventional plug-in EVs, hydrogen-powered cars have electric motors and don’t emit any C02 like diesel and petrol do – the only waste product is water.

As more and more zero-emission vehicles hit UK roads, it’s often leasing companies that are meeting the demands for the growing uptake of alternatively fuelled vehicles.

The future?

In fact, a new government grant for fleets was unveiled earlier this year that promises to cover as much as 75% of the costs of a new hydrogen vehicle ordered by April 2017, as well as the running costs for the first three years!

Chris Chandler, principal consultant for Lex Autolease said: “We’re committed to giving fleets access to the very latest in alternative fuelled vehicles.

“What’s particularly exciting about this entry is despite it being a very new technology and road fuel, this is a genuine fleet car being used on a daily basis by the University of Birmingham.”

The future? Honda's FCV concept (top) will be in production by 2017, while Toyota has ramped up the production targets for its Mirai (bottom).

Will hydrogen be the long-term winner in the alternative fuel race?

The Hyundai ix35 was the forerunner of the popular Tucson and, back in 2014, it was the hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle available in the UK. Since then, Toyota has revealed it is increasing production levels of its own hydrogen car – the Mirai – while Honda also confirmed it will be launching a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in 2017.

Chandler commented: “We’re very proud to be working with the University of Birmingham on its zero-emission strategy and I’m looking forward to co-piloting the iX35 during the MPG Marathon. We hope the event will help to raise awareness of the capabilities of these advanced vehicles.”

Do you think hydrogen power is more effective than plug-in electrics? Would you drive one in the future? Let us know via Facebook or Twitter!

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