Arval UK has joined a scheme to promote hydrogen fuel cell technology in cars.

The vehicle lessor and fleet manager will take park in the Hydrogen Hub initiative, a programme which will see hydrogen power trialled in vehicles in Swindon.

As chair of the Car Working Group, Arval will lease two hydrogen-powered vehicles to local companies, with subsidy from the UK government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles.

In addition, Arval will add a Toyota Mirai to its company fleet, and provide management support to local companies receiving vehicles as part of a linked bid structure.

Paul Marchment, SME development manager at Arval UK, said: “This is the UK’s first hydrogen feet car trial and we are very pleased to take pole position in its development.”

The Hydrogen Hub initiative aims to operate 11 company-run fuel cell cars in Swindon by the end of 2016. It will also explore hydrogen fuel cell uses in forklift trucks, buses, and heat and power units for domestic and commercial purposes.

There are plans to open Swindon’s second public fuelling centre in 2017, with an aim to reach 50 hydrogen cars in fleet operation by the end of that year.

According to Arval’s ‘Corporate vehicle observatory baromoter’ report, 26% of fleets are looking to operate a hydrogen car within three years.

Marchment stated that the programme would be subsidised to meet typical fleet costs, and would use telematics to gather data.

Marchment said: “As part of this arrangement, they will cover a minimum annual mileage of 10-15,000 miles over their three-year lease.

“We will gather as much data as possible through our in-vehicle telematics service which will in turn help us to advise our customers in the future.”