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Converting delivery vans to hydrogen

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Stellantis hosted a discussion regarding hydrogen-powered delivery vans (FCEVs). All Opel, Peugeot, and Citroen FCEV vans are presently manufactured in Opel’s Special Vehicles facility in Rüsselsheim, which is part of the Stellantis Group. The present manufacturing capacity is 1,000 units per year, however, this will be significantly increased in the following years.

Conversion of vans to hydrogen-powered vehicles

Currently, the Vivaro, Expert, and Jumpy arrive at the manufacturer with either gasoline or fully electric engines. They are then turned into hydrogen-electric cars at Special Vehicles. That seems complicated, and it is, but due to the relatively low output and demand, no separate production line for this version of the delivery vans has yet been established. When demand for these buses increases, it is the ultimate goal.

During the event, visitors learned a lot about the conversion process as well as Stellantis’ aims and ambitions in the field of hydrogen-electric vehicles.

H2 FCEV Benefits

Hydrogen electric vans have a few benefits over other electric vehicles. Stellantis has chosen the so-called “mid-power” strategy. As a consequence, these vans with a 4.4-kilogram hydrogen tank and a 10.5 kWh battery have a WLTP range of 400 kilometers (350 kilometers on H2 and 50 km from the battery).

Another significant benefit is that refilling takes only three minutes. Depending on the capacity of the fast charger, an EV with a comparable range may soon require a charging time of at least half an hour to more than an hour (50 to 150 kWh). You’d prefer to save time, especially if you’re using a delivery vehicle.

Stellantis’ use of hydrogen technology for the delivery vans also assures that no cargo space is wasted as a result of the presence of a huge battery pack or fuel tank. The 10.5 kWh battery pack is concealed behind the driver’s seat, while the three hydrogen cells are located beneath the bus. As a result, the van’s height has grown somewhat, but at 1m94, this Vivaro, Partner, and Jumpy can be parked in practically any parking garage.

Enough strength

Stellantis had to sacrifice the performance of these vehicles by opting for the mid-power concept. The top speed is restricted to 110 km/h. That is adequate in and of itself, but it would be wonderful if they could drive a little faster on the highway, even if just for a time. When you have to overtake slower road users, such as freight traffic or automobiles towing trailers, for example.

The Vivaro, Expert, and Jumpy all have enough acceleration power thanks to the various Drive Modes. The electric motors provide 100 kW (136 hp) of power and 260 Nm of torque in Power mode.

Hydrogen is a safer alternative to gasoline.

The most flammable gas on the planet is hydrogen. It was utilized in the Space Shuttle’s rocket engines, among other things, and many people will recall the pictures of the Hindenburg accident. In 1937, a hydrogen-filled zeppelin actually went up in flames. That is something we no longer have to be concerned about. The cylinders in which the hydrogen is kept are exceedingly safe, at a pressure of 700 bar. In fact, refueling using hydrogen is safer than using gasoline. In actuality, the hydrogen is refueled and stored in a closed system. After all, you’re standing right next to an open fuel cap, where extremely combustible gasoline fumes escape. Despite this, no one seems to mind.

During the testing step, the cylinders are pressure tested 1500 times at 1800 bar. That’s more than 2.5 times the pressure that’ll be needed in the end. They are also put for 30 minutes in an open fire to guarantee that they do not rip in the event of an accident. To put it another way, the H2 cylinders are many times stronger and more durable than standard gasoline or diesel tank. To summarize, driving on hydrogen is far safer than driving on gasoline.

Arnes Biogradlija
Creative Content Director at EnergyNews.Biz

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