First Hydrogen Corp. announced its first hydrogen fuel cell-powered van (FCEV) have commenced performance tests at the HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground, located near Birmingham, UK.
These track tests will confirm the safety and performance of the light commercial vehicles (LCV) prior to the handover from powertrain specialists AVL to First Hydrogen. Last month, the vehicles were certified for UK road use ahead of a series of road trials with major UK operators, which start in January 2023. The vehicles will undertake final testing designed to fine-tune operational performance before they are available for fleet operator trials to commence in the New Year.
The Company’s inaugural vehicles have more than five times more range capability than their battery electric equivalent – achieving 400-600km range on a single fuelling compared to the 115km range of the battery electric van running at the same maximum speed. With a refuelling time of approximately five minutes, the time required to power First Hydrogen’s FCEVs dramatically undercuts the 5 hours and 20 minutes it takes to recharge a battery electric van.
Created to encourage adoption and whet the market appetite, the Company’s vehicle demonstrator program will inform development for future vehicle trials in European Union, United States and Canada. Feedback and high-level purchase commitments will also support the design and development of First Hydrogen’s next generation of vehicles, which it plans to bring to market in the next few years. The global light commercial vehicle market is projected to reach $786.5 billion by 20303. These vehicles, together with First Hydrogen’s complete Hydrogen-as-a-Service (HaaS) solution, which supplies green hydrogen fuel, distribution and complementing vehicle management services, will help the sector meet zero emission targets.
First Hydrogen installed hydrogen fuel systems into the First Hydrogen LCV vans. The fuel stack was supplied by Ballard Power Systems, the leading global provider of energy fuel cell solutions, and the vehicles have been fitted out at AVL’s facility in Basildon. The van has also been wrapped in First Hydrogen branded blue and white livery, designed with a nod to the vehicle’s hydrogen-propulsion system.
Steve Gill, CEO of Automotive for First Hydrogen Limited, says: “The team has been working tirelessly to reach this monumental achievement. 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.”
Nicholas Wrigley, Chairman of First Hydrogen Limited, comments: “We are delighted with the initial performance of the First Hydrogen fuel cell van. 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.”