World’s first hydrogen backhoe gets permission to drive on UK roads
By Mike Hayes09 February 2023
The British government has given special dispensation for JCB to use its hydrogen-powered backhoe loader on UK roads.
The loader – the first of its type in the world to be powered by hydrogen combustion – was the subject of a special order, given by the transport secretary, allowing it to be tested and used on public highways.
The government says the move will help with the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as aiding the economy, following JCB’s recent creation of 150 hydrogen-related jobs in the Midlands, plus hundreds more expected.
Technology and decarbonisation minister Jesse Norman said, “From cars to construction sites, industry has a vital role in decarbonising our economy and creating green jobs and prosperity.
“JCB’s investment in greener equipment is a great example of how industry can make this happen, using alternative fuels to generate sustainable economic growth.”
JCB Chairman Lord Bamford said, “Securing this vehicle special order from the Department for Transport is an important first step in getting JCB machines that are powered by hydrogen combustion engines to and from British building sites using the public highway. It’s an endorsement that JCB is on the right path in pursuit of its net zero ambitions.”
On the machine itself, “It’s a real breakthrough – a zero CO2 fuel providing the power to drive the pistons in an internal combustion engine, a technology that’s been around for over 100 years, a technology that we are all familiar with.”