Hydrogen fuel cell electric van begins demonstrator testing

Two demonstrator fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) from First Hydrogen will begin testing in June as part of a partnership with Ballard Power Systems and AVL Powertrain UK.

The two hydrogen-powered vans, sourced from MAN, part of the Volkswagen Group, are located at AVL’s UK headquarters.

One has been stripped down and used for detailed design and packaging assessments to accommodate the Ballard hydrogen fuel cell, the balance of plant systems, and the hydrogen (H2) fuel tanks. This includes the preparations for the installation of the hydrogen fuel cell, the power battery and the H2 fuel tanks. 

The second vehicle is for the control systems analysis and integration. 

The first of two hydrogen fuel cell stacks provided by Ballard has been built with the addition of all required components, including air system, thermal management and cooling system and hydrogen supply. 

The fuel cell system assembly has been shipped to AVL’s headquarters in Graz, Austria, for testing and fuel-cell optimisation. The second fuel cell system assembly will follow shortly.

Following optimisation, the fuel cells systems will be shipped back to AVL in the UK for integration and commissioning in the vehicles.

Steve Gill, CEO Automotive at First Hydrogen, said: “We are very pleased with the progress for the delivery of our two demonstrator vehicles, working with our partners AVL and Ballard.

“We are substantially on track to showcase our road-going vehicles with customers in September 2022, as originally planned.

“Our joint development of this hydrogen fuel cell vehicle will set us apart as a market leader for fuel cell vehicles in the light commercial space and in good stead for our next generation of bespoke hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, which will incorporate all the technical development we have achieved so far.”

Road/track testing is expected to be on schedule for June 2022 with final delivery for road use in September 2022, when First Hydrogen showcase its’ zero-emission commercial van to replace petrol/diesel-powered fleets.

The light commercial vehicle (LCV) will have a range of 500-plus kilometres (310 miles).

In parallel with the development of the demonstrator vehicles, it is pursuing green hydrogen production projects in the UK and elsewhere.

First Hydrogen’s development of its refuelling station continues with FEV Consulting GmbH of Aachen Germany. 

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