Sixty hydrogen-fuelled cars are to be deployed in taxi, private-hire and police fleets in London as part of the €26 million Project Zefer.

Zefer ' the Zero Emission Fleet vehicles for European Roll-out ' will see a similar number of hydrogen fuelled cars go into both Paris and Brussels.

The vehicles will be deployed for use where hydrogen fuelled vehicles are most valuable ' fleets which drive long distances every day, need rapid refuelling and which operate in polluted city centres where zero-emissions are sought.

Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) run on hydrogen gas, a fuel cell transforming the hydrogen directly into electricity and producing only water as an emission biproduct. FCEVs typically take three minutes to refuel and have a long range of 300-400 miles.

The vehicles will be in use each day, creating a demand for hydrogen fuel to help encourage the early development of hydrogen fuelling station networks in each city. This, in turn, aims to speed up the take up of hydrogen as a zero-emission fuel in European cities.

The pan-European project will be delivered by a consortium led by Element Energy, including hydrogen suppliers (Air Liquide and ITM Power Trading Ltd), vehicle end users (Green Tomato Cars, HYPE and the London Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime), observer partners (BMW and Linde AG) and partners supporting the analysis and policy conclusions (Cenex and the Mairie de Paris).

It is co-funded with €5 million from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, a public-private partnership supporting fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies in Europe.

The 180 FCEVs will be sourced from vehicle manufacturers able to offer state of the art hydrogen fuel cell cars in Europe ' the first 25 vehicles are set to be deployed in the first week of May in London by Green Tomato Cars.

Ben Madden, director at Element Energy, said: 'The increasingly widespread hydrogen infrastructure network in leading European cities as well as new FCEV models from manufacturers are beginning to drive real market adoption.

'We are excited to see the first large-scale users starting to take up the technology in large fleets to do the day to day work of vehicles which operate in urban centres'

Jonny Goldstone, managing director of Green Tomato Cars, said: 'This is a truly 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.

'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 Mirai cars'