Whilst every manufacturer across the globe appears to be working exclusively on battery powered medium sized vans for zero tailpipe emissions. PSA Group owner Stellantis have announced they are to launch a hydrogen fuel cell van covering their Citroen, Peugeot and Opel medium models later this year.
Why do Hydrogen Fuel Cell makes sense?
Many people may ask, if everyone appears to be going battery electric why are PSA going head long into hydrogen fuel cell as well? The simple answer according to Stellantis is that different approaches are needed to meet all types of transportation requirements of van operators. Hydrogen offers an interesting combination of three properties which are unique to this type of power:
- Zero Emission
- Long driving range
- Fast fuelling within three minutes
Why aren’t battery electric suitable for all van operators?
Its Stellantis view that not all van operations are suitable for battery electric and these include users that need to go long distances in their vans. There is also the issue of the potential lack of chargers in suburban areas so a longer range will help negate the need to re-charge as many times. Finally a hydrogen fuel cell van can be filled in around three minutes time, similar in fact to filling a diesel van.
Which vans will have hydrogen fuel cell?
PSA Group will produce this new fuel cell van in the Citroen Dispatch, Peugeot Expert and Opel Vivaro but there’s no mention of the Vauxhall Vivaro. It also appears there’s only going to be left hand drive models available when it is launched later this year so the UK may be missing out initially.
A fuel cell works by combining hydrogen and air in the presence of a catalyst and generates electricity to drive an electric motor with water vapour as the only by-product. There is also a battery ( stored under the seats) which is used to store surplus energy and also energy developed via the regeneration braking system.
In the Stellantis specification, which they describe as a ‘mid-power’ system, contains a 45kW fuel cell, 4.4kg of hydrogen and a 10.5kWh battery, and could be described as a hybrid compared to the other types of fuel cell solutions such as the full power and a range extender systems.
This new system converts the existing PSA Group battery electric vans into fuel cell without any major modifications and more importantly no compromise on cargo space or payload.