Opel unveils Vivaro-e fuel cell van
After Stellantis Group announcing the beginning of April it will have three hydrogen-powered vans in its dealerships by the end of the year, Opel had unveiled its part of the trio, the Vivaro-e HYDROGEN. It offers an extended range of more than 400 km and an increased payload to 1 100 kg compared to the one-ton standard.
The fuel cell version (FCEV) has the same 6,1 cubic meters of cargo capacity as its diesel and battery-electric sibling and will be available in two lengths: 4,95 and 5,30 meters. Based primarily on the electric version, the latter’s 50 kW or 75 kW battery is replaced by three carbon fiber 700 bar tanks for the hydrogen and a 45 kW fuel cell from Symbio.
The Vivaro-e Hydrogen gets a 10,5 kWh lithium-ion battery instead, which allows driving 50 km on pure battery power and can be plugged in to charge like the BEV version. The battery, situated under the front seats, can deliver dynamic peak power when required, for example, at start-up and under acceleration.
The biggest advantage of the fuel cell version is an increased range of more than 400 km and the possibility to refuel in less than three minutes. The battery-electric version offers ranges of 230 km (50 kW battery) or 330 km (75 kW), respectively.
The fuel cell Peugeot Expert, Citroën Jumpy, and Opel Vivaro will be assembled at Opel Special Vehicles (OSV) in Russelsheim (Germany), which has become home to Stellantis’ competence center for hydrogen. The German government has allocated it a 5,6 million euro aid.
Zafira on hydrogen?
In October last year, according to the German press, Opel was working to equip its ‘lounge on wheels’, the Zafira Life, with a fuel cell too and would start testing in 2021. The Zafira Life people mover is available as a battery-electric version, available with the same batteries as the Vivaro-e.
Opel used to be one of the frontrunners in fuel cell technology with the first generation Zafira on hydrogen – the Zafira HydroGen1 Concept already developed in 2000 in cooperation with GM. Opel then ran an Alternative Propulsion Center in Mainz-Kastel from 1997 to 2012.
HydroGen3 longest range
A few years later, the third generation, Zafira HydroGen3, was the fuel cell car with the longest range (400 km) approved for public roads in Japan. It had its hydrogen compressed to 700 bar. The HydroGen4, with a fuel cell of 97 kW, added another 20 km to its range.
Under GM’s parenthood, in 2008, some 30 of them were operated in a demonstration program for the German government. But like many other experimental hydrogen cars from other manufacturers, the fuel cell Zafira was never commercialized.