Arval will add 10 additional cars to its hydrogen trial, following the opening of a second refuelling station near its head office.
The fleet management and leasing firm is taking part in a project called the Hydrogen Hub, which aims to show the viability of fuel cell technology across a range of domestic, commercial and transport applications in the Swindon area.
With the trial now a little over a year old, Arval already has six company cars from Hyundai and Toyota in operation for The Science Museum, Nationwide Building Society, Johnson Matthey and itself.
The new hydrogen station has been opened at the offices of Johnson Matthey, and joins the original Swindon site at the nearby Honda car production plant.
Paul Marchment, SME development manager at Arval, who is overseeing the trial, said: “It is difficult to overstate the importance of having a second refuelling facility locally. For fleets, it simply makes taking on vehicles more viable.
“The reasons for this are simple. Firstly, if one hydrogen station is unavailable, there is another to use, so the cars can continue to operate. Secondly, it increases convenience and the sense that the hydrogen fuelling network is growing.”
Arval is aiming to place the additional cars businesses already operating hydrogen cars and those looking to take their first.
“To some extent, we are limited by the availability of vehicles. Opening a new station is a strong signal to the manufacturers involved that Arval, and fleets based in Swindon, are serious about hydrogen as a fuel of the future, which should help us attract better supply.
“There are a number of new models coming to the market in the next year, including perhaps a van for the first time, so it really feels as though the whole subject of hydrogen vehicles is gaining momentum at the moment,” added Marchment.
Arval is chair of the Hydrogen Hub’s Car Working Group and is central to a range of projects designed to look at the practicalities of operating hydrogen vehicles; information which it can then pass onto its customers.