First Hydrogen launches hydrogen-powered FCEV programme in North America

First Hydrogen launches hydrogen-powered FCEV programme in North America.

After successful UK vehicle trials, First Hydrogen has launched its new hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle (FCEV) programme for North America. 

First Hydrogen intends to develop two additional demonstrator FCEVs to show potential North American fleet customers and continue its successful trial programme in the UK with interested fleet operators.    

The company’s FCEV trials have shown hydrogen power will be essential to meet the critical range, payload towing and fast refuelling capabilities required by fleet operators transitioning to zero emission vehicles in sectors such as grocery, parcel delivery, mining and utilities which cannot be met by battery-electric vehicles (BEV). 

The programme is the next step towards their plans to build a vehicle assembly facility and green hydrogen production plant in Shawinigan, Quebec. The company’s “Hydrogen-as-a-Service” model will provide customers in the Montreal-Quebec City hub with clean green hydrogen fuel and zero-emission commercial vehicles to accelerate the creation of zero-emission ecosystem solutions. The assembly facility target will be for annual production of up to 25,000 vehicles for distribution throughout North America and will represent a major boost to green technology jobs in the region.  

The North American, Quebec-based, development programme will be led by Stéphane Gagnon. The lead engineer said: “Joining First Hydrogen is an important milestone in my career. I truly believe that First Hydrogen’s FCEVs can have a tremendous impact on the transport sector’s decarbonisation. 

“Looking at the success the company has reached in the UK with the hydrogen technology and the customer experience, really motivates me to implement such a programme in North America. Also, working with all the suppliers and regulatory bodies to build the best in-class NA demonstrators is an achievement that I’m looking to do with dedication and pride.” 

Francois Morin, VP of development – North America, First Hydrogen, said: “It is important for us to share our knowledge gained from the development of the two UK FCEVs as we add FCEVs in Quebec. The additional FCEVs build momentum as we move forward with the hydrogen production and vehicle assembly plant in Shawinigan.” 

Steve Gill, head of automotive at First Hydrogen, said: “The application of our hydrogen powertrain technology to a North American vehicle platform will show the technology to a new set of customers. 

“Experiencing our vehicles in action is a key step for fleets looking to adopt hydrogen mobility, and our road trials and recent track day with major UK fleets have generated substantial interest in hydrogen-powered light commercial vehicles. This new programme will only help us to accelerate adoption of hydrogen mobility in the UK, Europe and North America. There will be new challenges, but I am confident in our professional skills and determination to create additional demonstrators to our existing FCEVs.” 

The news comes as the Canadian Government has further committed to developing the country’s hydrogen economy in its 2023 Fall Economic Statement. To stimulate investment in projects, it has launched clean economy investment tax credits for carbon capture and storage and net zero energy technology, including hydrogen. 

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