New launches show clean hydrogen can clean up light commercial vehicles

New launches show clean hydrogen can clean up light commercial vehicles

Many owners of light commercial vehicles are in a bind. They want to run cleaner vans and buses, if not for its own sake, then to avoid the extra charges associated with driving in the low-emission zones in cities such as London. But the current options don’t suit their needs.

The few battery electric vehicles (BEVs) on the market, from the likes of Volta and Mercedes, have painfully low range and take an age to recharge. The Volta Zero has a range of no more than 125 miles and a maximum speed of 56 mph, while Mercedes eSprinter has a range of 93 miles.

For vehicles making short urban journeys for a limited part of the day, these are fine, but the majority of van drivers are currently left in the cold.

Enter a new range of hydrogen-powered light commercial vehicles (LCVs).

This week, First Hydrogen announced that its hydrogen-powered LCV will begin operational testing this June, with the expectation fleet operators will begin trialling them by September.

Its van will have 310 miles of range, according to the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Testing Procedure. That compares with just 71 miles for the equivalent battery electric vehicle under the same conditions.

The vehicles use a MAN eTGE van as their base and are powered by Ballard Power Systems fuel cells. The prototypes are being manufactured by UK-based AVL Powertrain.

Another pioneer in the LCV category over the past year has been Renault, which in June 2021 created HYVIA, a joint venture with U.S. hydrogen fuel cell manufacturer Plug Power.

HYVIA has unveiled 3 hydrogen-powered light vehicle prototypes in the first 12 months of its existence. In October last year, it presented the Renault Master Van H2-TECH, while a month later it showed us the Renault Master Chassis Cab H2-TECH and the Renault Master City Bus H2-TECH.

The van has 12 sq. metres of cargo volume and 311 miles of range; the chassis-cab can be used with various additions, including a 19 sq. metre box van and has a range of 155 miles; and the city bus can carry 15 passengers and has a range of 186 miles.

All 3 vehicles are expected to be available by the end of this year, as well as the HYVIA Refuelling Station, which can fill up the above vehicles in about 5 minutes.

The arrival of these vehicles is right on time. Emissions regulations are tightening rapidly as countries and cities aim look to meet their climate obligations and hit the net zero targets that are crucial to stopping the planet from warming beyond tolerable levels.

To learn more about Ryze Hydrogen click here.

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