There’s a new way to keep your business moving - the Vauxhall Vivaro-e HYDROGEN.
A growing number of manufacturers are exploring the benefits of hydrogen fuel cell technology.
Toyota, for example, recently launched the hydrogen-fuelled Mirai, a striking passenger car that’s aimed at motorists who demand newer, cleaner forms of transportation.
And now Vauxhall has unveiled the Vivaro-e HYDROGEN, which offers a range of 249 miles between charges and should prove tempting to a whole host of environmentally-conscious companies.
The first thing to note here is that the Vivaro-e Hydrogen - which is based on the traditional Vivaro panel van - won’t be available until 2023.
Just like normal diesel Vivaros, you can expect a healthy cargo volume up to 6.1m3.
But unlike the standard all-electric Vivaro-e, Vauxhall says the fuel cells can be replenished in just three minutes - which could be an absolutely critical selling point for those who don’t want to waste valuable time waiting for electric batteries to replenish.
So how does this all work?
Well, Vauxhall’s upcoming van is what’s known in the industry as a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV).
It’s based on the existing battery electric Vivaro-e, complete with two sliding side-doors. But here the battery of the Vivaro-e BEV (battery electric vehicle) is replaced by three 700- bar hydrogen tanks. And these carbon-fibre cylinders are a doddle to fill from a dedicated hydrogen station.
A Vauxhall spokesperson adds:
“The Vivaro-e HYDROGEN with its 45kW fuel cell is capable of generating enough power for continuous motorway driving, while the 10.5kWh lithium-ion battery, located under the front seats, provides dynamic peak power when required - for example, at start-up and under acceleration.
“Since the battery covers power needs in such situations, the fuel cell can run at optimum operating conditions. The battery also enables regenerative braking, while the plug-in capability offers the opportunity to recharge the battery externally if necessary, e.g. at a charging station, providing 31 miles of pure battery electric range.”
So, what’s the catch?
Well, there are currently only around a dozen public hydrogen refuelling stations in the UK - half of them dotted in and around London.
But in September last year the Government promised to deliver a ‘world leading hydrogen market’ as part of a £23 million programme of investment, which includes building more refuelling stations.
Fingers crossed, then, that by 2023 the infrastructure has caught up with the demand.
Paul Willcox, Managing Director, Vauxhall, adds:
“Vauxhall is already leading the way with an all-electric van range, and now we are set to add hydrogen to the line-up as an efficient energy system of the future. Vauxhall-Opel has more than 20 years of experience in developing hydrogen fuel technology which offers zero emissions-in-use, a long driving range and ultra-fast refuelling. We are already in contact with UK fleet operators that want to go the extra mile on sustainability and we look forward to bringing Vivaro-e HYDROGEN to the UK soon.”
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