Fleet News

Japanese first for hydrogen-powered vehicles

THE Japanese Government has given General Motors approval to drive a liquid hydrogen-fuelled vehicle on public roads in a move that could hasten their adoption in Europe.

Starting in June, parcel delivery giant FedEx will help run a one-year field test on the manufacturer's HydroGen3 fuel cell vehicle for deliveries in Tokyo.

GM's HydroGen3 fuel cell vehicle, based on the Zafira MPV, will be the first to drive on the streets of Japan using liquid hydrogen as its fuel.

Approval to use the vehicle on public roads was granted by Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT). HydroGen3 also received the first-ever approval for a liquid hydrogen storage system for vehicle use from the High Pressure Gas Safety Institute of Japan (KHK).

'Japan is one of the key countries at the forefront of developing fuel cell technology and a hydrogen economy,' said Larry Burns, GM vice-president of research and development, and planning.

'We're happy that the Japanese government, like GM, is looking at several methods for storing hydrogen.

'It's important to seriously study all of the viable storage options available.'

The FedEx trial, announced in December last year, will begin in June and the company will operate HydroGen3 several days a week. GM will collect data from FedEx and will provide all vehicle engineering and maintenance. FedEx drivers will receive training from GM engineers.

'This testing project is the first true commercial use of a fuel cell vehicle in Japan,' said Raymond Grigg, chairman and CEO, representative director, General Motors Japan Ltd. 'We expect to learn a lot about how fuel cell vehicles operate under demanding, real-world conditions by having FedEx operate the HydroGen3 like they would any of their regular delivery vehicles.'

HydroGen3 has a top speed of 100mph and a range of 250 miles.

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