One of the unique products on show at the CV Show in September was a ‘cut-out’ example of a hydrogen fuel cell Vivaro on the Vauxhall stand and it seems that the company along with its sister brand in Europe, Opel, have progressed from the model stage to production. The first Vivaro-e Hydrogen off the production line from Opel will begin its zero-emissions-in-use work in the fleet of Miele, the manufacturer of premium domestic appliances. The hydrogen fuel cell vehicle will perform daily field service in the Rhine-Main region of Germany, Opel and Miele’s domestic market.
The Vivaro-e Hydrogen is based on the existing battery electric Opel Vivaro-e and with full tanks of hydrogen, the driving range is more than 249 miles (WLTP). The 45kW fuel cell is capable of generating enough power for continuous highway driving and takes only three minutes to refuel with hydrogen – about the same time needed to fill up a conventional diesel or petrol vehicle.
The 10.5kWh lithium-ion battery provides dynamic peak power when required, for example, at start-up and under acceleration. Since the battery covers power needs in such situations, the fuel cell can run at optimum operating conditions. The battery also enables regenerative braking, while the plug-in capability offers the opportunity to recharge the battery externally if necessary, e.g. at a charging station, providing 31 miles of pure battery electric range.
Uwe Hochgeschurtz, Opel CEO, and Marcus Lott, Head of Development, were present at the start of production in Rüsselsheim, Germany. Hochgeschurtz commented: “With the new Opel Vivaro-e Hydrogen we are opening the next chapter in our sustainable mobility offensive. The clever concept combines the advantages of hydrogen fuel cell propulsion with the versatility and capabilities of our best-selling light commercial vehicle.”
Like its battery-electric sibling and those with internal combustion engines, the Vivaro-e Hydrogen offers an unusually wide range of driver assistance systems that enhance safety. The equipment includes a 180-degree panorama rear view camera, blind-spot alert and front/rear park pilot.
Marcus Lott, Head of Development, added: “The new Vivaro-e Hydrogen perfectly meets the requirements of fleet customers. The hydrogen van is the ideal solution for driving long distances with zero-emissions-in-use as well as for transporting larger loads without losing time while charging the batteries. The Opel Vivaro-e Hydrogen leads zero-emissions mobility into the future, especially for commercial use.”
The fuel cell electric LCV is available in lengths M and L (4.95m and 5.30m) with up to 1,000kg of payload.and Vauxhall is actively speaking to business customers in the UK now about Vivaro-e Hydrogen and expects right-hand drive vehicles to arrive from early 2023.