Stellantis will mass produce hydrogen LCVs
Stellantis has announced plans to scale up to industrial levels the production of hydrogen fuel cell light commercial vehicles.
The manufacturer is investing in its Hordain plant in France to make fuel cell versions of the Peugeot Expert, Citroen Jumpy and Opel Vivaro from 2023. The factory will be able to assemble 5,000 fuel cell LCVs per year.
Hydrogen has typically been seen as a zero emission solution for heavy commercial vehicles and buses, but with battery-electric motors failing to satisfy all of the use cases required by fleet operators, due either to range or recharging time, Stellantis has become the first OEM to commit to the mass production of LCVs.
Stellantis is targeting the fuel cell vehicles at long-distance freight companies that require a longer range (400 km), a fast charging time (3 minutes), and no compromises on cargo capacity (1000 kg of payload), but there are other fleet applications, too.
Earlier this year Miele, the manufacturer of domestic appliances, took delivery of its first Opel Vivaro-e HYDROGEN van, made by Stellantis’s pilot fuel cell project at Russelsheim in Germany.
Hans Krug, Senior Vice President Procurement with the Miele Group (pictured above, left), said: “Hydrogen plays a key role in our considerations, for instance in our service fleet.”
He added that the fuel cell technology would offer an environmentally friendly solution for service technicians who have to park their vehicles on the road overnight and do not have access to their own charging station alternative.
“This bridges the gap between vehicles with a combustion engine and plug-in electric vehicles and is an interesting proposition in particular when larger distances are involved,” said Krug.
Long distance fleets
In January, Uwe Hochgeschurtz, then Opel CEO (pictured above right), said the Vivaro-e HYDROGEN was: “the ideal solution for fleet customers who want to cover long distances with their van without emissions and then refuel quickly. Refuelling with hydrogen takes only three minutes.”
Hochgeschurtz is now COO of Stellantis Europe and will speak on sustainability at the Fleet Europe Summit on November 17. Register now.
The fuel cell vehicles will be assembled on the same factory line that already produces electric and diesel versions of the Expert/Jumpy/Vivaro vans, with a specialist team installing the hydrogen tanks, batteries and fuel cell.