AUTOMOTIVE and green energy developer, First Hydrogen has partnered with fleet management provider and member of the UK Aggregated Hydrogen Freight Consortium (AFHC), Rivus to start operational trials with a hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle (FCEV).

Rivus currently manages around 120,000 vehicles, including approximately 85,000 light commercial vehicles (LCVs), and supports some of the UK’s largest and most critical fleets.

 The partnership commences with a driver training day hosted by First Hydrogen and AVL, the mobility experts supporting vehicle development, at HORIBA MIRA’s proving ground, near Coventry. Rivus will then test one of First Hydrogen’s LCV for a month in the Birmingham and Sheffield areas, which are served by hydrogen refuelling stations.

Rivus will run First Hydrogen’s vehicle on pre-planned routes to measure performance under different driving conditions. Telematics and onboard instruments will capture data on vehicle performance, efficiency, and fuel consumption. The findings will contribute to First Hydrogen’s overall evaluation and mileage accumulation programme, which supports vehicle optimisation and determines Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

At the end of the trial, Rivus will produce its own independent report analysing the performance of the hydrogen-powered LCV, which will be available to fleet managers and Rivus customers. The report will share valuable insight into the benefits and practicality of adopting hydrogen mobility.

 Rivus is the first company to participate in vehicle trials with First Hydrogen’s Generation I zero-emission LCVs. Co-ordinated through the AHFC, which is led by Element Energy with input from global industrial members of UK H2Mobility, the consortium works together with large UK fleet operators to accelerate the commercial rollout of fuel cell vans and trucks and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. 15 major fleet operators have already registered an interest in taking part in First Hydrogen’s 12-18-month LCV trial programme.

 The trials enable fleet managers from sectors including grocery, express delivery, utilities, healthcare, and roadside assistance, to experience the benefits of FCEVs within their own operations. Hydrogen powertrains provide a greater range, higher payload capacity and faster refuelling than equivalent battery electric vehicles. First Hydrogen’s vehicle has a range of 400-600km on a single fuel tank filled at 700 bar, which takes approximately five minutes to fill. The programme enables operators to compare different vehicle technologies in action.

Steve Gill, Chief Executive Automotive at First Hydrogen said: “As highly regarded fleet specialists, we’re keen to receive Rivus’ feedback. The team will put the vehicle through its paces and test it under various duty cycles. Their findings will showcase our vehicle’s capabilities to a new audience of fleet customers and create market demand. Rivus’ input will help us to optimise performance and will also inform our plans for future vehicle development and deployment. The team’s expertise will also help us to support fleet operators to switch to zero-emission vehicles.”

Thomas Maerz, Chief Development Officer at Rivus, added: “Having this time to evaluate the vehicle’s capabilities will significantly add to our insight into alternative fuels, especially in the LCV class. In light of 2030 targets, this knowledge enables us to help operators with critical fleets that need to transition to zero emission. Providing this support gives our customers confidence in their transition and fuels our ambition to create a cleaner and more sustainable future.”

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