Toyota's Mirai fuel cell saloon this week became London's first hydrogen-fuelled private hire car (minicab), operated by greentomatocars. The first fare payer was a medical student who travelled 10 miles,  "emissions-free"  from her home in Wimbledon to the West End.

"With increased traffic from thousands of Christmas shoppers and deliveries in London, it is one vehicle that won't be adding to pollution levels in the capital, as the only emission it produces from its tailpipe is water," Toyota GB said in a statement.

The Mirai is the world's first hydrogen fuel cell saloon and uses hydrogen to generate electricity inside a fuel cell stack used to drive the electric motor with no harmful emissions and no need for plug-in recharging.

Toyota claims a full-tank driving range of around 300 miles (500km), comparable with a petrol-powered car. Refuelling takes about three minutes though there are few refuelling locations at this stage.

Greentomatocars was one of the first European customers for the Mirai, taking two cars from the initial 12 that Toyota expected to be on the road in the UK before the end of this year.

Its managing director Julia Thomas said: "As London's own original eco passenger car service, we strive to support the latest in environmental transport technology and we are extremely excited to have these vehicles join our fleet."

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