UK Government-funded promises hydrogen van. UK Government-funded drivetrain project promises hydrogen-enabled, zero-emission commercial van revolution.
The UK government has announced funding for a project that promises to catapult the UK to the forefront of the global race to develop a supply chain for the manufacture of hydrogen-enabled drivetrains for large vans and trucks.

The funding, part of the Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial, funded by the Department for Transport and the government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, will enable the development of a zero-emission drivetrain, which will be incorporated into a 3.5T van. The 1,000kg payload vehicle will have an approximately 200-mile range, in urban use.

The £0.5m project will be led by world leading hydrogen fuel system integrator, Arcola Energy, who will design a hydrogen-electric hybrid drivetrain, with a hydrogen fuel cell system providing extended range – to 200 miles per day. Project partner Haydale Composite Solutions will develop a 700bar hydrogen tank to suit the emerging refuelling standards and enable the range extension for the vehicle.
Commercial Group, operators of the largest commercial hydrogen-enabled vehicle fleet in the UK, will trial the vehicle – the first fully zero-emission vehicle in their hydrogen-powered fleet.

Transport Minister, John Hayes said: “This project will help cut vehicle emissions, improving air quality and reducing pollution in towns and cities. This is yet another important step towards this government’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions from transport to help tackle climate change.
We are already making headway through our investment in low emission vehicles, greener public transport and walking and cycling, as well as grants for innovative advanced biofuels projects.”

Dr Ben Todd, MD at Arcola Energy said: “This project builds on many years of Arcola Energy work developing and integrating hydrogen fuel cell systems in to vehicles ranging from lightweight 2-seaters to double-decker buses. Importantly, it will support expansion of Arcola Energy’s engineering services offering to include the whole hydrogen-electric hybrid drive train from H2 tank to wheels.
From our experience in supplying zero-emission vans to end-users, we are only too aware of the absence of a zero-emission 3.5T commercial vehicle in the marketplace. Thus, we are delighted to be working with other UK-based partners to deliver and commercially trial a scalable, practical approach to addressing this requirement.
We’re grateful for the consistent support the government has shown for this project and other low emission vehicle programmes, supporting the development of a UK supply chain for this and other much-needed drivetrain solutions.

Innovate UK’s Manufacturing and Materials Director Simon Edmonds said: “This project will help spearhead the uptake of the next generation of innovative low emission freight and fleet vehicles. The impact will benefit the environment, particularly in our big cities.
The data collected from this new trial will be invaluable to future development and commercialisation of these vital technologies.”

Arthur Hindmarch, Managing Director at Commercial Group said: “We are tremendously excited to be involved in a project that is not just at the cutting edge of zero-emission vehicle development, but which promises to re-invigorate the UK’s drivetrain manufacturing industry, harnessing the country’s long-standing capability in this area. We believe that hydrogen powered transport solutions are a key part of our zero-emission future and are proud to be an early adopter.

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