The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has confirmed that Transport for London has will run four Toyota Mirari hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as part of its fleet.
A further eight Mirais will be heading to the capital, with private hire fleets and businesses likely to take on the vehicles.
Hydrogen energy storage company ITM Power has confirmed it will run some of the vehicles. Prices are expected to be around £60,000.
The TfL vehicles will be used to assist with engineering and maintenance work carried out between bus stops and tube stations.
Toyota has named London as a key city for early adoption of hydrogen vehicles this year and next, “given the Mayor’s commitment to develop the necessary infrastructure and encourage motorists to move over to cleaner cars”.
As well as being exempt from the congestion charging fee in central London, hydrogen vehicles pay no road tax and there is currently no duty on hydrogen as a road fuel.
There are currently three hydrogen refuelling stations in London and this is set to “more than double” by the end of 2016.
Johnson said: “By embracing this technology of the future, we aim to consolidate hydrogen’s role as a practical alternative fuel for the 21st century and beyond.
“I am sure that TfL will provide the ideal environment for us to see everything the Mirai can do and, in doing so, take another great step towards improving air quality in our city and protecting the health of Londoners.”
Paul Van der Burgh, president and managing director for Toyota (GB), said: “The success of hydrogen will require constructive dialogue and action, bringing together industry, national governments and city authorities like London to share and develop skills and experience and to communicate the benefits that can be delivered to business and to individuals.
“TfL and the city it serves will provide the ideal environment for Mirai to demonstrate the significant potential of hydrogen as a practical alternative fuel for the next century and beyond."
There are currently seven zero-emission hydrogen passenger cars in London, but with the arrival of the Mirai and further cars expected from Hyundai this number is set to more than triple in the coming year.
Hydrogen powered vehicles emit no emissions from the tailpipe, just water vapour, and are on a par with conventional vehicles in terms of size, driving range, speed and refuelling time.
Hydrogen can be produced through a wide variety of renewable energy sources including solar and wind power. London’s next wave of hydrogen refuelling stations are being delivered through the HyFIVE project, a European-wide initiative led by the Mayor in collaboration with 15 partners including manufacturers and infrastructure providers, and part of his work to spearhead the introduction of the newest, cleanest hydrogen technology.