Fleet management giant Rivus is set to become the first company to test drive First Hydrogen’s zero-emission van on roads around Birmingham and Sheffield.

Revus, which manages around 120,000 vehicles and supports some of the UK’s largest fleets, will run the Generation One LCV on pre-planned routes to measure performance under different driving conditions.

Driver training will take place ahead of the trial at HORIBA MIRA’s proving ground, near Coventry.

Telematics and onboard instruments will capture data on vehicle performance, efficiency, and fuel consumption.

The findings will contribute to First Hydrogen’s overall evaluation and mileage accumulation programme, which supports vehicle optimisation and determines Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

At the end of the trial, Rivus will produce its own independent report analysing the performance of the hydrogen-powered van, which will be available to fleet managers and Rivus customers.

Rivus is the first company to take part in these vehicle trials. Another 15 major fleet operators have registered an interest in taking part in First Hydrogen’s 12-18-month LCV programme, the company said.

The trial is co-ordinated through the UK Aggregated Hydrogen Freight Consortium (AFHC) of which Rivus is a member. The AHFC, which is led by Element Energy, works with large UK fleet operators to accelerate the commercial rollout of fuel cell vans and trucks and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.

The aim is to enable fleet managers from sectors including grocery, express delivery, utilities, healthcare, and roadside assistance, to experience the benefits of FCEVs within their own operations.

Hydrogen powertrains provide a greater range, higher payload capacity and faster refuelling than equivalent battery electric vehicles.

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First Hydrogen’s vehicle has a range of 400-600km on a single fuel tank filled at 700 bar, which takes approximately five minutes to fill. The programme enables operators to compare different vehicle technologies in action.

Steve Gill, First Hydrogen chief executive of automotive, said: “It is incredibly valuable to partner with Rivus for the first of our vehicle fleet trials.

“As highly regarded fleet specialists, we’re keen to receive Rivus’ feedback. The team will put the vehicle through its paces and test it under various duty cycles.

“Their findings will showcase our vehicle’s capabilities to a new audience of fleet customers and create market demand.

“Rivus’ input will help us to optimise performance and will also inform our plans for future vehicle development and deployment.

“The team’s expertise will also help us to support fleet operators to switch to zero-emission vehicles.”

Thomas Maerz, Rivus chief development officer, added: “We are delighted to be the first trial participants and for our drivers to test this first-of-its-kind, zero-emission commercial vehicle.

“Having this time to evaluate the vehicle’s capabilities will significantly add to our insight into alternative fuels, especially in the LCV class.

“In light of 2030 targets, this knowledge enables us to help operators with critical fleets that need to transition to zero emission.

“Providing this support gives our customers confidence in their transition and fuels our ambition to create a cleaner and more sustainable future.”

For more stories tracking the industry journey to decarbonisation see our new Freight Carbon Zero website.