Consortium led by Intelligent Energy to deliver zero-emission range-extended light commercial vehicles for fleets
New class of range-extended electric vehicle (EV) using hydrogen fuel cell technology
Consortium members drawn from recognised driveline technology and vehicle integration specialists as well as large fleet users
Three-year programme supported by £6.3m funding from APC (Advanced Propulsion Centre), a government industry partnership that aims to position the UK as a global centre of excellence for low carbon powertrain development and production
Intelligent Energy, the energy technology group, will lead a UK industry consortium that is to develop a new class of zero-emission, light commercial vehicle (LCV). By integrating fuel cell technology into battery electric vehicles (BEVs), the consortium will deliver the capability to provide low carbon LCVs with significantly improved range and rapid refuelling.
The three-year project, utilising Intelligent Energy’s world leading fuel cell technology, is to develop validated systems and vehicle conversion expertise ready for volume manufacture. The goal is also to provide fleet operators with a solution that enables vehicle operation for extended periods whilst being emissions free at the tailpipe.
The consortium will receive a £6.3m grant from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) as part of the £12.7m project. In addition to lead partner Intelligent Energy, the partners comprise Frost EV, Frost Electronics, Millbrook, CENEX, British Gas and DHL.
The collaborative project minimises technical and commercial risk by initially targeting captive and commercial fleet operators, providing a package that can be integrated into vehicles as an end-of-line fitment at an OEM, or through a new-vehicle conversion facility, or by retro-fitting at approved centres.
Intelligent Energy’s Motive Division Managing Director, James Batchelor, said: “The calibre of the partners underlines the level of confidence in the advantages of and commercial opportunities for fuel cell solutions for electric vehicle application. There is a need to move quickly to capitalise on these opportunities, and this programme will enable Intelligent Energy and our partners to do this.
“Ever tightening legislation to decarbonise road transport, such as the introduction of Low and Ultra Low Emission Zones, and the accelerating roll out of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure provide a real commercial imperative for the widespread adoption of hydrogen fuel cell technology.”
Jon Beasley, Director of Technology and Projects from the Advanced Propulsion Centre, located at the University of Warwick, said: “Our aim is to position the UK as a global centre for low carbon propulsion systems development and production. This consortium of British companies is helping the APC to deliver its aim with this innovative project that uses hydrogen fuel cell technologies. It has the potential to deliver a viable zero-emission vehicle for fleet operators around the world.”
Fuel cell systems can be used to increase battery electric vehicle range while maintaining zero emissions. The light commercial vehicle systems developed during this programme will offer operational advantages through increased access to restricted emission zones combined with faster refuelling times than battery pack recharging alternatives. The consortium will work in conjunction with a steering group including vehicle manufacturers, government agencies and major fleet operators.
James Batchelor added: “To complement Intelligent Energy’s proven business model based on licensing our technology to vehicle makers, we also recognise the potential to secure the early market introduction of our fuel cell systems with the goal to provide range-extended capability to fleet operators of battery electric vehicles.
“Indeed, fleet operators are already engaged with the battery EV market to comply with current and future legislation and achieve corporate environmental sustainability goals. They are pushing for increased range and faster refuelling times to allow greater fleet flexibility and reduce costs.
“Many have indicated that without this range extender technology, perhaps just 10 percent of total LCV fleets are likely to be switched to battery EV propulsion. Using cost-effective fuel cell technology, that estimate rises in the short term to about 30 percent.”
He concluded: “By the end of the project, vehicles will be delivered using Intelligent Energy’s class-leading fuel cell technology built to automotive standards, ready for extensive fleet use. The relationships formed as a result of this programme will help to develop a mature supply chain and commercial framework, in turn supporting the expansion of hydrogen infrastructure, with the expectation that this will lead to the availability of fuel cells at scale.”
About Intelligent Energy
Intelligent Energy Holdings plc is an energy technology group which develops efficient and clean hydrogen fuel cell power systems for the global automotive, consumer electronics, distributed power and generation markets – from powering zero-emission vehicles to compact energy packs for mobile devices and stationary power units for the always-on infrastructure.
Working with international companies, Intelligent Energy aims to embed its technology in mass market applications to solve the challenges of continuous power and productivity, by creating everyday energy solutions to power people’s lives. The Group’s intellectual property and expertise is based around proprietary fuel cell technologies, which are the product of over 25 years of research and development. Its patent portfolio includes more than 400 patents granted (and over 600 patents pending) across more than 300 patent families. The Group also maintains a significant body of confidential know-how and trade secrets.
With its principal facility and headquarters in Loughborough, UK, the company also has operations in India, Japan and Singapore, a commercial office in Silicon Valley, USA, and research facilities in Florida, USA. Intelligent Energy Holdings plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: IEH).
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About the APC
The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) was formed in 2013 from the commitment between the government and automotive industry through the Automotive Council to position the UK as a global centre of excellence for low carbon propulsion development and production. It is a central pillar of the Industrial Strategy created by the Automotive Council.
The APC is an industry wide collaboration with government, academia, innovators and producers of low carbon propulsion systems. It facilitates and supports partnerships between those who have good ideas and those who have a desire to bring them to market.
The services provided by the APC enable projects which provide profitable growth and sustainable opportunities for the partners involved and builds the UK supply chain. The APC’s activities will build the UK’s capability as a Propulsion Nation and contribute to the country’s economic prosperity.
Richard Doherty at Market Engineering
Tel: +44 (0) 1295 277050