Said to be the first time that fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and EVs have been trialled together in the UK, the project aims to explore alternatives to fossil fuels, gathering feedback on customer experience.

Tested on a route connecting eight key locations and attractions in the National Park, hydrogen-electric and electric buses have been provided by Toyota, with the trial gathering data on each technology’s suitability for the varying terrain and refuelling needs with Air Products providing hydrogen and refuelling infrastructure.

Set to conclude on September 16, 2022, the trial led by Chesterfield-based tourism resort, Gateway at PEAK, is ahead of the planned PEAK Express which seeks to offer zero-emission transport in the Peak District National Park, expected to be open in Spring 2025.

Once fully operational, the Peak Express aims to remove 500,000 visitor journeys from the National Park, offering an estimated 3.6 million kilogramme reduction in carbon dioxide emissions each year.

Manish Patel, Mobility Director for UK Hydrogen at Air Products, said, “It’s really exciting to be providing hydrogen to a project that could make an important contribution to UK carbon neutrality targets, and be a real asset to this region.

“We’re committed to finding solutions to some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. Our involvement in the trial is testament to both growing demand for hydrogen fuel and our intention to contribute to the decarbonisation of the heavy-duty transport industry. We’re looking forward to providing safe, reliable clean energy in this landmark trial.”

Jon Hunt, Alternative Fuels Manager at Toyota, added,  “There is not one simple solution for zero-carbon mobility. That’s why this trial provides us with an exciting opportunity to trial both EV and FCEV vehicles, assessing which is more suitable to different types of journeys across the park. We will also be looking at optimal ways to provide refuelling and provide great levels of customer service on board the vehicles.”

The trail has been supported by the Peak District National Park Authority, Chesterfield Borough Council, and Milligan, the developers of Gateway.

Andrew McCloy, Chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, commented, “We are delighted to be a stakeholder for this ground-breaking trial. Protecting the National Park for future generations and developing more sustainable ways for people to visit is high on our agenda.”

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