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Ford is launching a three-year hydrogen fuel cell trial to see if a hydrogen-powered version of its E-Transit van can work, the carmaker said on Tuesday.
Ford will be joined by UK oil and gas supermajor BP in a consortium focusing on trials of hydrogen and infrastructure.
The research will be funded by the UK’s Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), which will see Ford design, develop, and build a fleet of 8 hydrogen fuel cell powered Transit vans, with the latest advances in technology, as part of the 22nd funding round from APC.
The Ford-led project will include BP, Ocado, Cygnet Texkimp, Cambustion, and Viritech. The hydrogen fuel cell-powered version of the Ford Transit van will be developed at a Ford Dagenham estate facility which will be re-purposed for upfitting of the vehicle.
“By bringing the manufacturer, vehicle operator and supply chain businesses together, this project aims to establish a business case for the wider rollout of hydrogen Light Commercial Vehicles,” the UK’s APC said.
Ford, for its part, said, via UK chairman Tim Slatter in a statement carried by Reuters,
“Ford believes that the primary application of fuel cells could be in its largest, heaviest commercial vehicles to ensure they are emission-free, while satisfying the high daily energy requirements our customers demand.”
“Ford has an unmatched history in the commercial vehicle sector with the indomitable Transit, and we are excited to be exploring new ways to make clean deliveries an option for even our hardest working vans on the road,” Slatter noted.
Proponents of hydrogen fuel cell technology for commercial vehicles say that hydrogen could be better suited for such zero-emission vehicles because electric vehicle batteries would be too heavy, and charging will take time and burden the grids.
Hydrogen adoption for light commercial vehicles, however, currently faces some roadblocks, including the higher costs and low availability of green hydrogen – made with electrolysis using renewable energy – and the lack of infrastructure for refilling with the fuel.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.