Automotive and energy developer First Hydrogen has announced that its hydrogen-powered, zero-emission light commercial vehicles (LCVs) have begun track-based performance tests at the Horiba MIRA Proving Ground near Birmingham in the UK.
First Hydrogen installed the hydrogen fuel systems into the First Hydrogen LCV vans. The fuel stack was supplied by energy fuel cell solutions company Ballard Power Systems and the vehicles were fitted out at powertrain company AVL’s Basildon facility. The hydrogen-powered LCVs have five times the range of their battery-powered twin and can achieve 400-600km range on a single refueling, which takes only five minutes.
The track tests at Horiba MIRA’s Proving Ground will be used to ensure the LCVs perform to their desired level and adhere to safety regulations before being handed over to First Hydrogen from AVL. Following certification for use on UK roads, the LCVs will begin real-world trials in January 2023. Final testing and fine-tuning for optimal operational performance will be carried out before the vans are available for fleet operator trials during 2023.
The vehicle demonstrator program seeks to inform development for future vehicle trials in the EU, the USA and Canada. Feedback will support the design and development program of First Hydrogen’s next-generation vehicles, which it plans to bring to market in the coming years.
In combination with First Hydrogen’s complete Hydrogen-as-a-Service solution, which supplies green hydrogen fuel, distribution and vehicle management services, the company aims to help the sector in meeting its zero emission targets.
“The team has been working tirelessly to reach this monumental achievement,” said Steve Gill, CEO of automotive, First Hydrogen. “It has been phenomenal to watch the performance on the test track and really brought our vision into reality. These vehicles enable us to demonstrate how hydrogen fuel cell systems can serve the LCV market; delivering the range and providing the operational flexibility commercial fleets require.”
“We are delighted with the initial performance of the First Hydrogen fuel cell van,” added
Nicholas Wrigley, chairman of First Hydrogen. “There is growing pressure on the transport sector to achieve zero emission targets, which means operators, governments and investors are eager to see the power of hydrogen mobility in action. Using donor vehicles has enabled us to bring our first demonstrator vans to market quickly. This approach also allows customers to see, feel and experience the operational benefits of hydrogen propulsion in a familiar set up.”