A "FIRST-of-its-kind" trial of energy-efficient hydrogen cars funded by the Welsh Government has been given the go ahead in Monmouthshire.

Powys-based Riversimple Movement approached Monmouthshire County Council about facilitating a 12-month trial of the 'Rasa', which has a range of 300 miles, refills in five minutes and has "no cost premium" compared with a conventional car.

After being approved by cabinet yesterday, the firm will supply 20 hand-built hydrogen call cars for the use of residents in the county.

Contracts ranging from three to six months will be offered to between 60 to 80 users of varying ages from within Monmouthshire and the surrounding areas.

Cabinet member for community development, Cllr Phyl Hobson, described the scheme as an “unique opportunity [that] will draw a great deal of attention to the car but also to Monmouthshire as a host".

“It may herald the introduction of a new method of fuelling, acquiring and financing personal transport," he said.

To facilitate the scheme, a self-service mobile refuelling point will be installed in one of the council car parks at Abergavenny or Monmouth.

The council are also recommended to provide secure parking for up to 20 vehicles at Raglan depot.

According to the company's report, the 'Rasa' is the "cleanest and most energy-efficient car yet offered for ordinary road-going use", with the only emission being "a small teaspoon of clean water".

The scheme was passed unanimously by cabinet with leader Peter Fox describing it as a "really interesting concept".

Cllr Hobson added: “The only exhaust or bi-product is going to be water vapour and that is why its carbon free.

“It’s really exciting and I hope that the message gets out there. It’s carbon free and that’s why it is great.”

Riversimple finance director, Jeff Loo, added: "The opportunity now in this 'new technology age' is to make a momentous change in the way we provide mobility.

"Monmouthshire County Council have a strong forward-thinking council led by a visionary leader and chief executive.

"They have seen the need for a more efficient way of providing mobility within the community and for the citizens of Monmouthshire."

Riversimple was awarded a £2 million grant from the Welsh Government in 2015 to develop the Rasa as well as an EU grant of €2 million.

The short distances between towns in the county are also described as being "ideal" for testing the cars, which are designed for local non-motorway use with a max speed of 60mph.

The first batch of cars will be presented to cabinet members and councillors on Thursday, June 16.