First Hydrogen, a UK-based company focused on zero-emission vehicles, green hydrogen production and distribution, gathered 21 fleet operators and industry specialists to test drive the company’s hydrogen-fuel-cell powered vehicles (FCEV). on 31 October.

The event welcomed industry guests from Europe and the UK to the HORIBA MIA in Coventry.

The Track Day drew interest from vehicle leasing and rental companies, with Arval (BNP Paribas Group), Novuna, and Redde Northgate attending, along with British motor trades residual value experts, Glass’s Guide. Representatives from Brit European Transport, National Windscreens & the Canal and River Trust were also present. 

According to a statement by the company, participating fleets operate more than half a million vehicles. Research Nester estimates the global hydrogen vehicle market size to expand at 45% CAGR between 2023 and 2035, growing from US$1 billion to US$45 billion.  

The event gave operators a unique opportunity to get behind the wheel of the company’s hydrogen-fuel-cell powered vehicles (FCEV). Twenty-nine drivers each took the opportunity to drive on the MIRA track, simulating different duty cycles and reaching up to 110 km per hour (70 miles per hour).

Drivers were also treated to a vehicle walk-round and under-the-hood viewing of First Hydrogen’s technology. The company’s partner, Ballard Power Systems, was present alongside First Hydrogen engineers to help attendees understand how the vehicles’ fuel cells work.

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First Hydrogen’s road trials with fleet specialists Rivus and energy company SSE plc looked to demonstrate the range the vehicles have, with a peak range of more than 630km (390 miles) on a single fuelling achieved during journeys from Aberdeen. The real-world operational trials also sought to show the minimal effect carrying heavy loads or driving at higher speeds had on vehicle range.

Steve Gill, Executive Director Automotive at First Hydrogen, said: “We’re delighted with the high level of interest we have received from UK fleet operators about our FCEVs and this enthusiasm was clearly present at our first driving experience day. By engaging fleets in similar events, we are demonstrating our FCEV’s capabilities to an audience who are on the road to zero emissions and can see a role for First Hydrogen technology in achieving their targets. Their feedback will help us achieve buy-in from fleets, some of whom are likely to become our Development Partners, helping us shape our future business and ultimately becoming customers for our vehicles.”

Stephen Offley, Transport Manager at Wales & West Utilities, said: “It was fantastic to see a hydrogen vehicle of this weight class in action. We already know that hydrogen power will be essential to meet the critical range, payload and towing capabilities required by public utilities and other users, which cannot be met by battery-electric vans. This experience shows that adoption could soon become a reality and will help operators to transition their whole fleets to zero-emission technology.”