Fleet News

German delivery fleet praises fuel cell vans

A MAJOR German fleet has praised the use of fuel cell vehicles and predicts them as the 'most viable concept for the future'.

Hamburg-based delivery firm Hermes Versand Service is currently testing a Mercedes-Benz fuel cell Sprinter as part of an initiative it is undertaking with DaimlerChrysler.

At the time the two companies launched the venture a year ago, it was believed the move could hasten the adoption of fuel cell vehicles by European fleets.

The vehicles are being tested as part of Hermes' everyday operations and have so far covered 16,000 kilometres.

Hermes Versand Service managing director Dr Wolfgang Furwentsches said: 'As operators of a 3,400 van fleet and as major customers of DaimlerChrysler, we thought it important to promote environmentally-friendly technologies in the commercial vehicle sector.

'Our favourable experience with the Mercedes-Benz fuel-cell Sprinter confirms our view that this propulsion technology is the most viable concept for the future.'

Daimlerchrysler said the vehicle's 'simple, convenient operation and dynamic start-off characteristics' proved to be 'greatly convincing' and that the vehicles are performing well in urban traffic and stop-and-go delivery work.

'These qualities engender an excellent overall impression,' the manufacturer said.

Hermes Versand Service makes 165 million deliveries every year and is currently testing the Sprinter in the Stuttgart area of Germany.

The Sprinter has front-wheel drive and uses gaseous hydrogen as fuel. Such vehicles produce no harmful emissions as the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen only generates steam as an exhaust gas.

DaimlerChrysler said fuel cells offer advantages to fleets particularly in urban areas as vehicles can be refuelled at a company's central depot.

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