Stellantis NV, world's fourth largest automaker, will offer a new range of cargo vans that will run on a combination of both hydrogen and battery power with a promise of emitting only water vapor and shorter refueling time.
The car maker's medium-size commercial vehicles that will go on sale toward the end of the year operate with fuel cells as well as batteries while providing a driving range of more than 400 kilometers (249 miles). It is claimed to be filled up in nearly three minutes. "It’s the best of both energies," Carla Gohin, senior vice president of research and innovation was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.
Formed by a merger between PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler, Stellantis is joining the bandwagon of manufacturers who are creasing out plans to make their commercial vehicle offerings to run on hydrogen. Though the technology has been around for decades, it has been held due to prohibitive costs and the lack of infrastructure. The high cost of hydrogen technology is “clearly one of the challenges" that could be resolved through large production volumes, Gohin added.
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Governments in Germany and France are encouraging the development of more hydrogen refueling stations as part of their programs to limit carbon emissions. They have also increased sales of purely electric vans amid rising demand for online shopping deliveries. While Germany currently has about 90 hydrogen refueling stations, France has 25.
Various other carmakers have been betting big on the hydrogen momentum. Established rivals like Toyota and Hyundai have also started hydrogen projects while European rivals Volvo Group and Daimler AG joined forces last year. Renault also recently formed a joint venture with Plug Power to build hydrogen-fueled delivery vans in Europe. They together plan to start offering both vehicles and hydrogen-fueling stations by early 2022.