"Im confident this could transform the light commercial market, as it delivers much greater freedom and flexibility."
Simon Bailes Peugeot will take delivery of a new breed of zero emission vehicles from next year – a hydrogen-powered van.
The French manufacturer says its mid-sized Peugeot e-Expert Hydrogen, available from 2022, is a response to those fleet customers requiring greater range and faster refill times.
It’s arrival will be particularly appropriate for Teesside, which is to be home to the UK’s first research, development and testing centre for hydrogen transport technologies.
The hydrogen fuel cell electric version, which sits within the compact utility van segment, has a range of 250 miles and can be refilled in just three minutes, with battery-only running possible for up to 30 miles.
It offers huge advantages over pure electric vehicles, without compromising on payload (1100kg) and cargo volumes (6100 litres).
Simon Bailes, who operates dealerships in Stockton, Guisborough and Northallerton, said: “We are extremely excited at the prospect of offering our customers this innovative new technology.
“I’m confident this could transform the light commercial market, as it delivers much greater freedom and flexibility.”
The set-up is designed to mix power sources, with the battery providing power from a standstill, at low speeds and under acceleration, with the hydrogen fuel cell taking over at cruising speeds. As with full EVs, the system recoups energy back into the battery when coasting or decelerating.
Based on the same architecture as the battery-electric Peugeot Expert, it can store 4.4kg of liquid hydrogen under the cargo floor, with an additional; 10.5kWh battery housed under the seats. The rest of the fuel cell system and electric motor lie within the engine bay.
Maximum power is 134bhp and maximum torque 192lb-ft, giving the van a 0-62mph time of 15 seconds and a top speed of 81mph. It is also capable of towing up to a tonne.
The hydrogen fuel cell technology is currently being used for vans only but could make the leap to passenger vehicles in the form of the Peugeot Traveller MPVs.
Simon added: “This project is Peugeot’s first step in hydrogen fuel cell development, but it will drive research into second-generation systems involving a broad range of cars and vans.”