After announcing a green hydrogen production and facility at Mira Technology Park (MTP), Innervated Vehicle engineering (IVe) has confirmed plans to develop a new hydrogen fuel cell van.
IVE IndiGo - fully recyclable hydrogen van
IVE's IndiGo will offer fleets a low-cost, emissions-free option that can carry a 1.5-tonne payload and travel over 370 miles.
Throughout the past six decades, the company's engineers have challenged all the conventions that have restricted light goods vehicle design and engineering. Its industry experience comes from a range of executive positions at companies like Prodrive, McLaren, Cummins, Alexander Dennis, GM, and FIAT.
Using a clean and modular hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain, organic and non-metallic structural materials, low energy micro-manufacturing techniques, and advanced connectivity, IndiGo revolutionises productivity in the transportation sector while delivering a zero-emissions footprint for logistics and delivery operations.
The setup of the Indigo has also been optimized for driver safety and manoeuvrability, including a central driving position for better all-round visibility. A focus is also placed on the well-being of professional drivers; the rear of the van has a low, flat floor with room for an optional driver rest pod.
IVe developed a fuel-cell solution based on the return-to-base and a mix of urban, rural, and highway routes of most diesel-powered LGVs. This solution offers IndiGo emissions-free, high-payload, and long-range capability that can not be achieved using conventional batteries. The modular hydrogen drivetrain packaging allows IVe customers to be independent of fuel cell or hydrogen storage hardware providers, allowing fleet operators to swap sub-assemblies without experiencing the compatibility issues that are common with OEM-only solutions.
Fuel infrastructure and delivery are integrated into IVe's van-as-a-service package. IndiGo's projected 15-year lifecycle further reduces the total cost of ownership since it will last 128% longer than an average diesel van. In addition, IndiGo is working on a retrofit package for larger operators with significant residual value in existing diesel fleets.
The IndiGo utilises hemp for body panels, thereby eliminating the need for traditional paint processes, and the non-metallic chassis can be manufactured without the use of high energy processes, such as welding.
Having a central driving position improves visibility and minimises costs for operators in both left- and right-hand drive. ll-round cameras with HUD displays in the A-pillars have eliminated costly fleet management costs arising from damaged wing mirrors, while security is bolstered with all-around keyless entry to stop van theft by preventing any lock-breaking.
“We are delighted that IVe has chosen MTP as its home to revolutionise a critical segment in the automotive market and realise the ‘van of the future’ here” said Jack Bartlett, Head of Commercial & Partnerships at MIRA Technology Park. “We hope the cluster of capability here aids the realisation of the company’s radical and innovative engineering ambitions.”
The Indigo is being supported by the Innovate UK scheme, which provides funding for the creation of new technologies, products, and services. The first pre-series models are expected in September 2023, followed by the first production models in early 2024.
Is hydrogen a viable option for commercial vehicles?
In the next few years, it is likely that the growth rate of the hydrogen refuelling infrastructure will determine the power option most fleets choose for panel vans.
Fleet software specialist FleetCheck said EV panel vans require considerable operational compromise for some fleets. Hydrogen could alleviate this.
Managing Director Peter Golding said: “For fleets that carry low-medium weights in urban environments over short-medium distances, an electric panel van is a good solution, and there is a wide range of options becoming available on the market.
“However, if you currently move more than a tonne payload 200-300 miles in a day, up and down motorways, they are much less practical. In winter, completing that kind of working day could require not just an overnight charge but a couple of additional charges.
“That is why hydrogen is being talked about more and more by operators, and was a major source of conversation at the recent CV Show, with the hydrogen Vivaro on the Vauxhall stand due for arrival in 2023 a particular source of speculation. Because it can be refuelled with the speed and ease of a diesel vehicle, while providing similar range, it potentially solves those specific operational problems to which EVs are arguably not well suited.”
Hydrogen vans could provide an answer to many of our van leasing customers' prayers. So far, Stellantis has announced hydrogen vans from Citroen, Opel/Vauxhall and Peugeot, promising a 250-mile range and quick, 3- min refuelling. We are looking forward to bringing you the best deals on these hydrogen vans when the UK sales begin in 2023.
In the meantime, check out our current electric van lease deals if you're looking for a zero-emission commercial vehicle.
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