A Scottish-led project to develop a hydrogen fuel cell-powered heavy goods vehicle has been awarded £30m from a government and industry initiative.

Glasgow-based HVS aims to develop a “clean and affordable” cab and tractor unit to replace equivalent diesel-powered vehicles currently used across the UK and Europe.

The funding is coming from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) programme.

It supports the development of low and zero-carbon automotive technology.

HVS is among five companies taking a share of a £73m pot raised between the UK government and the automobile industry to develop clean transport technology.

HVS will receive a £15m grant from the government, with a further £15m coming from industry.

Hydrogen propulsion is seen as central to decarbonising HGVs, as battery packs used by smaller electric vehicles at the scale required would be prohibitively heavy and have lengthy charging times.

‘Major milestone’

HVS chief executive Jawad Khursheed said its plans to decarbonise heavy-duty transport in the UK had reached “a major milestone” with the help of the APC grant.

He added: “We have successfully produced our first driving fuel cell technology demonstrator vehicle and are on track to deliver the UK’s first-to-market hydrogen fuel cell-powered HGV.”

UK Business Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Our automotive industry is a world-leader, creating jobs whether in Essex, Somerset or Glasgow.

“Seizing the potential from new technologies will be a key part of its future success, while also making our roads cleaner, greener and more affordable.”

The government has committed £211m to battery research and innovation through the Faraday Battery Challenge.

The funding will be delivered by UK Research and Innovation, with support from the Faraday Institution, Innovate UK and the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre.