First Hydrogen has announced that its first zero emission light commercial vehicles are in the final stages of development.

The first of the company’s demonstrator vehicles completed hydrogen fuelling at 700-bar pressure at the ITM/MOTIVE site in Rainham, Essex this week.

The location is close to the AVL facility in Basildon where the vehicles are being assembled.

The 700-bar fill is a key performance parameter, First Hydrogen said, as it is the pressure rate that supplies enough energy to give the vehicle a 400-600km range within a few minutes.

When commissioned, drivers will be able to see the energy storage and power flow within the vehicle on the van’s dashboard display.

First Hydrogen’s two demonstrator vehicles are due for delivery within the next month.

The vehicle will now undergo test runs at the HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground and test track near Birmingham.

It has been certified for use on UK roads and will be used in a series of real-world trials with major fleet operators starting in January 2023.

Current fleets scheduled to trial the LCVs include major grocery chains, infrastructure and utility providers and healthcare services.

Run in conjunction with the Aggregated Hydrogen Freight Consortium (AHFC), the trials will enable First Hydrogen to gain feedback for its next-generation 2.0 LCVs and engage with future potential customers.

They will also allow fleet managers to experience operating zero-emission hydrogen vehicles within their company.

First Hydrogen Automotive chief executive Steve Gill said: “We are hugely proud to have reached this stage in the development of our first vehicles. The first fuelling is an incredibly exciting moment for us, which signifies a major step along the road to the wider production and launch of our First Hydrogen vehicles.

"We are eager to enter final testing and commence trials with operators early next year, which will help us to refine our end-to-end Hydrogen-as-a-Service solution and assess the commercial appetite for hydrogen vehicles as a way to achieve zero emissions in the transport sector.

“Following the European Union’s outline to drastically cut vehicle CO2 emissions in the next 12 years, we are very confident that our plans for zero emission commercial vehicles are absolutely on the right track.”

Added First Hydrogen chief executive and chairman, Balraj Mann: "We have already witnessed the car market in North America transition quickly to electric vehicles over the last four years. We are now seeing vans and commercial vehicles pursuing the zero emissions transition. I believe green hydrogen will be the choice for commercial vehicles that require range and payload capabilities.”