Opel has delivered its first hydrogen-powered van to a customer in Germany, saying the Vivaro model will pave the way for a whole family of new zero-emission light commercial vehicles that refuel far faster than their electric counterparts can recharge.
The Vivaro-e Hydrogen was delivered to domestic appliance manufacturer Miele in the central Rhine-Main region. It promises a range of 400 kilometres compared to 329 km for the pure electric version.
The hydrogen tanks of the Vivaro e-hydrogen can be refuelled in just 3 minutes, which gives the model a clear advantage over the all-electric Vivaro which needs to sip electrons for four hours and 45 minutes once the batteries are depleted.
The hydrogen van is aimed at business customers initially and will be sold alongside the existing battery-electric and combustion-engined versions. A Vauxhall variant will debut later in some markets.
“With the new Opel Vivaro-e Hydrogen we are opening the next chapter in our sustainable mobility offensive,” said Opel CEO Uwe Hochgeschurtz. He said the van was ideal for transporting loads without losing time while charging the batteries.
The Vivaro hydrogen-driven van is the forerunner of a joint version for all the companies within the Stellantis concern which groups Fiat, Chrysler and PSA with Opel. Hydrogen versions of the Citroen e-Jumpy and Peugeot e-Expert vans are said to be in the pipeline.
The hydrogen load-hauler is based on the battery electric Opel Vivaro-e but driven by a 45kW fuel cell which uses a chemical reaction to produce electricity. A 10.5kWh lithium-ion battery provides dynamic peak power when required, for example, when the van starts up and under acceleration.
Opel said the battery also enables regenerative braking, while the plug-in capability offers the opportunity to recharge the battery externally if necessary.