UK Start-Up to Lock Horns with Hydrogen Truck Makers

A UK start-up is planning to take on the large truck-maker brands eyeing the hydrogen powertrain market with the launch of its own market-ready truck.

Hydrogen Vehicle Systems (HVS), plans to disrupt the haulage industry players like Daimler and Volvo with its 5.5-ton hydrogen fuel cell technology demonstrator. The company sees this as its stepping stone to a full 40-tonne zero-emission heavy goods vehicle, fulfilling the company’s objective of being the first indigenous UK designed and developed hydrogen-electric HGV on the market.

The UK’s trucking industry is facing government targets to curtail sales of all non-zero emission 3.5t -26t HGVs set to come into play by 2035 or earlier and all sales of new non-zero emission HGVs by 2040. Now HVS is showcasing its technology in the shape of a vehicle employing a fuel cell and energy storage system to deploy electricity to an electric motor to transmit power to the wheels. It also uses the kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) to recapture energy under braking and while the truck is slowing down.

The integrated powertrain is controlled with the company’s control system SEMAS which claims to deliver class-leading fuel efficiency and durability, contributing to achieving a low cost of ownership comparable to that of current diesel-powered offerings in the market.

The fuel cell permits longer range, higher load-carrying capacity, and faster refueling than would be possible using Lithium-Ion battery technology alone. A typical refueling time is comparable to diesel. It is in the long-distance HGV segment that hydrogen fuel cells offer the most advantages. Depending on the journey, the route travelled, road conditions and driving style, the company says its HGV has the capacity to cover in excess of 310 miles.

The company also has a defined route to market. In addition to funding from Innovate UK, Scottish Enterprise and Energy Technology Partnership, HVS’ strategic investment partner is the service station and grocery corporation, EG Group, offering hydrogen refueling infrastructure, fleet customer base and the potential for global scalability.

HVS CEO Jawad Khursheed said: “This technology demonstrator showcases our ground-breaking hydrogen-electric commercial vehicle design and advanced powertrain technology, a precursor to our HGV model. Fueled by close-coupled green hydrogen our zero-emission trucks are a key part of decarbonizing the logistics sector. Hydrogen is the perfect fuel for the haulage industry, offering long ranges and quick refueling thanks to stations easily integrated into key transport networks.”

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

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