Renault Unveils Market-Ready Fuel Cell Master Van

Renault has pulled the wraps off its first market-ready hydrogen fuel cell LCV in the shape of the Renault Master Van H2-TECH due for production next year.

The vehicle was developed by HYVIA, the automaker’s joint venture created in June with hydrogen energy provider Plug Power, and was unveiled alongside its Hydrogen Refueling Station prototype as it looks to deploy its own hydrogen ecosystem, including green hydrogen production and distribution plus offering a future range of fuel cell-powered light commercial vehicles.

Available from 2022, the Renault Master Van H2-TECH claims zero CO2 emissions, increased range over many BEV options and fast refueling times. It is designed to transport goods and packages boasting a 12-square meter cargo volume and a range of up to 310 miles. It is equipped with a 30kW fuel cell, 33kWh battery and four tanks containing 6kg of hydrogen.

The van itself is built at Renault’s Batilly plant in France, while electric and hydrogen integration is completed by PVI, a Renault Group subsidiary based in Gretz-Armainvilliers. The electric motor is produced at the Cleon plant, while the fuel cell assembly will begin at the Flins plant by the end of 2021. The hydrogen tanks are sourced from Faurecia.

HYVIA’s Hydrogen Refueling Stations will be available to purchase, lease or rent and are designed to meet and exceed all safety regulations and best practices, while allowing fast fueling times, of just five minutes, similar to those of ICE vehicles. Hydrogen supplied will either be generated on-site using water electrolysis or supplied in bulk using gaseous tube trailers. The system then compresses H2 into storage, before dispensing it into the vehicle when needed. The fuel stations will also be assembled at the Flins plant in Northern France.

More prototypes currently being worked on include the Master Chassis Cab H2-TECH: a large van with even more cargo space at 19-cubic meters and a range of around 155 miles. In addition, the Master Citybus H2-TECH is an urban minibus that can carry up to 15 passengers, aimed at businesses, municipalities and local public services, with a range of 186 miles.

David Holderbach, CEO of HYVIA, said: “HYVIA, it’s about hydrogen mobility solutions for a tailor-made offer to our customers to meet the challenges of hydrogen mobility. HYVIA will be able to deploy its entire ecosystem in all territories and professional fleets for a carbon-free mobility.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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