Fleet management company Rivus has trialled a hydrogen fuel cell van from First Hydrogen.

The vehicle covered 742 miles during the test, and was found to have a range of 323 miles from a 90% hydrogen tank load, putting it ahead of the range possible from battery electric vans.

The hydrogen van was also found to not be heavily affected by speed or payload, again in contrast to battery EVs.

However, the high current cost of hydrogen meant an average pence-per-mile cost of 31p – more expensive than fuelling a diesel van, never mind a battery EV. Citing predictions that the cost of hydrogen will more than half by the end of the decade, a report published about the trial predicts that this situation will be reversed at some point.

Rivus warranty controller Gemma Horne, who took part in the trial, said: “The main benefit of the First Hydrogen vehicle is the refuelling times are quicker than battery EV charge times. And of course, unlike internal combustion engines, hydrogen vehicles produce zero emissions.”

First Hydrogen automotive CEO Steve Gill said: “We are delighted that Rivus has managed to prove that this technology can be a viable option for many fleets. 

“The trial also showed that the vehicle ran with excellent efficiency, comfortably achieving more than a 500km range on a single tank of fuel, exceeding the early performance expectations we set for real world driving. 

“We have always been confident that our vehicle will offer benefits to fleets, and this first trial is evidence of just that.”