Ford is trialing the viability of a hydrogen-powered E-Transit thanks to funding from the UK’s Advanced Propulsion Center (APC). The pilot program will investigate the total cost of ownership, real-world range, and uptime, but we will have to wait until after 2025 for the results.
Ford has dabbled in hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles several times, including a proof-of-concept funded by the APC of a hydrogen-powered E-Transik in 2021. Both parties are taking this idea a step further by creating eight E-Transits equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell for real-world testing.
Results after 2025
The project will run for three years, until the end of 2025, and will provide insight into the commercial viability of large hydrogen vans. Ford will also gather some expertise in converting electric vans into FCEVs, as the battery-powered E-Transit serves as a base for this project. After the project, Ford will also investigate recycling the powertrain components.
The hydrogen is supplied by oil and energy company BP, the fuel cell comes from Combustion, Viritech makes the high-pressure hydrogen tanks, and Cygnet Texkimp has provided the carbon tooling for the hydrogen tanks.
In theory, using hydrogen instead of batteries should offer an additional range, a lower weight necessary for the payload), faster refueling, and, therefore, more uptime. However, hydrogen is still more expensive than electricity, while producing green hydrogen from renewable sources takes more power than just recharging the battery.
Stellantis already offers its midsize vans with a hydrogen powertrain, which provides more range than its battery-electric counterpart while retaining the same payload and cargo space of the diesel versions.
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