The Company’s demonstrator vehicles have passed the important vehicle control system tests as part of the commissioning trials. The fuel cell systems, including the stack supplied by Ballard Power Systems, have undergone extensive calibration and testing in Graz, Austria. The testing is run by First Hydrogen’s automotive build partner, AVL, one of the world’s leading mobility technology companies for development, simulation and testing in the automotive industry and beyond.
The commissioning process ensures that the vehicles meet the highest possible safety standards for hydrogen and high voltage electrical safety systems. As part of First Hydrogen’s due diligence, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service were invited to inspect the vehicle at AVL’s facility in Basildon, UK and were reassured to see the control measures put in place so have supported the application for use on the county’s roads. This important step enables the vehicles to be tested in mixed road and driving conditions and to confirm performance ahead of First Hydrogen’s real-world operational trials with major fleet operators in early 2023.
Since announcing the trials, which is co-ordinated through Element Energy and the UK Aggregated Hydrogen Freight Consortium (AFHC), a further two fleets have expressed interest in participating in the demonstration programme. A total of 12 fleet operators working across a range of industries including telecoms, utilities, infrastructure, delivery, grocery and healthcare have now signed up to participate. They will be able to technically evaluate First Hydrogen’s fuel cell vehicles in terms of payload, range and ease of refuelling and compare ease of use with battery electric alternatives. It is expected that First Hydrogen will be able to secure indications of interest for future vehicle orders as a result of these trials.
Steve Gill, CEO at First Hydrogen Automotive, says: “Completion of the first trials is a key milestone in our demonstrators’ build and helps us to progress to the next stages of development for the vehicle’s hydrogen system, filling trials and dynamic road running. We are pleased that Essex Fire and Rescue Service were reassured to see the control measures put in place so have supported the application for use on the county’s roads. This also paves the way for future hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to be accepted for UK road testing.
“With real-world fleet trials due to start early next year, we are moving towards our goal of accelerating adoption of zero emission vehicles in the light commercial vehicle market. We are also hugely encouraged by the appetite from AHFC members, which includes some of the largest fleet operators in the UK, to trial hydrogen-powered vehicles. Not only will these trials provide unique proprietary data for our next generation of vehicles, the trials are also expected to generate future demand and establish a customer base.”