Norway's transport minister has approved car-maker Statoil's two hydrogen-fuelled cars. The cars can now be legally driven on European roads.

$quot;These are the first approved cars of their kind in Norway,$quot; says Brage WÃ¥rheim Johansen, who heads the hydrogen entity in the new energy business unit.

$quot;This is an important approval and a recognition that they are just as safe as conventional ones.$quot;

The cars are one of the elements in the national HyNor project. The project will make driving a hydrogen-fuelled vehicle between Stavanger and Oslo possible by 2009. In August 2006 Statoil opened its first hydrogen pump at its Forus service station near Stavanger.

Statoil's two hydrogen-fuelled cars will be linked in with the Forus HyNor station. In June, nine new cars will be linked in with a new HyNor filling station at Grønland, eastern Norway. Moreover, two hydrogen-fuelled cars will become part of the Hytrec research centre's filling station in Trondheim next year.