Electric Assisted Vehicles (EAV) is launching a trial of hydrogen fuel cell cargo bikes amid concerns about the environmental credentials of batteries.
EAV’s eCargo bikes are four-wheeled vehicles powered by a combination of pedalling and electricity, allowing them to use cycle lanes pedestrian zones and reduce emissions for last-mile deliveries.
The Oxfordshire-based company has created the hydrogen version of its 2Cubed vehicles because of its concerns over the true environmental impact of batteries and their weight.
“It’s a simple fact that the raw materials for battery production are in short supply,” said Adam Barmby, CEO and founder of EAV. “EAV focuses on weight reduction, so we use less energy and therefore require less batteries.”
EAV’s design uses a fuel cell in its powertrain, which generates electricity to feed a small battery pack, creating only water as a by-product.
The company’s main customers to date include Asda and Ocado.
Hydrogen fuel cells have enormous potential in e-bikes because of their light weight relative to batteries. French company Pragma Industries has developed the first commercially available hydrogen fuel cell e-bike, which offers 50 km of range on a single charge compared with about 50 km for an equivalent lithium-ion battery, and charges in two minutes versus more than three hours for the battery.
Last year, Pragma worked with Urban Arrow and the Arnhem-Nijmegen Business School to develop HydroCargo, a prototype of which was unveiled last September. A full charge of hydrogen takes three minutes to deliver and gives a range of about 50 km, twice as much as an equivalent lithium-ion battery.
Of particular interest to hardy delivery drivers working in colder environments during the winter months, the performance of hydrogen fuel cells doesn’t degrade when the temperature falls, a problem experienced with battery vehicles.
Hyundai went to great lengths (literally) to prove this recently when its Nexo broke a record for endurance driving on a single tank of hydrogen fuel when it drove for 412 miles over six hours at minus 6 degrees Celsius in Savoie, France, last month. But we digress…
While there has been a lot of focus on the use of hydrogen fuel cells in larger vehicles, it is shaping up to be a unique solution for decarbonising two-wheeled transport as well. The Mob-ion TGT scooter uses refillable hydrogen canisters the size of a reusable water bottle that can be swapped out easily for near-instant refuelling.
In France, where Mob-ion is based, millions of two-wheelers are used every day for commutes and most people don’t have access to overnight charging, the government sees real value in a hydrogen-based solution.
For more about Ryze Hydrogen click here.