In part six of our series on the pros and cons of green fuels for courier work, we take an in-depth look at the viability of hydrogen for your fleet.
Looking to the Future
Unlike some of the other green options we have mentioned in this series, hydrogen is only just becoming a viable option as a road fuel. Fleet operators looking to move towards hydrogen-powered vehicles will be pioneers in the industry. Though there are hybrid vehicles commercially available, at the moment there are no vans on the market powered solely by hydrogen.
To provide power, hydrogen is either burnt in an internal combustion engine or used to generate electricity through a Fuel Cell. All commercially available vehicles appropriate for a courier driver are hybrids. They use the internal combustion engine and petrol or diesel to power the van. This set up has both pros and cons in terms of performance.
On the Road
To a courier driver, these hybrid vehicles will feel familiar as they operate similarly to standard diesel vans. A range of 180-200 miles has been achieved on hydrogen. However, a benefit of these models is that if the hydrogen runs out, hybrids can run on diesel. In terms of courier work, the load space is not affected by the storage tanks, though payload is reduced a little.
With governmental regulations concerning pollution in cities likely to get firmer over the next few years, a vehicle’s environmental performance is important. A green vehicle could help you avoid fines, taxes and extra charges. Unfortunately, hybrid vehicles do still produce some harmful emissions such as carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons. However, the tailpipe emissions are still considerably lower than the equivalent diesel model.
Where to Refuel?
For a courier driver, the ability to easily refuel is key to ensuring an efficient service. At the moment, the infrastructure which will allow flexible refuelling for hydrogen is still being created. There are just thirteen refuelling stations across the country with a few more in the planning. If you are considering hydrogen for your fleet, proximity to one of these stations is necessary.
Hungry for hydrogen? It might take a few more years for this green fuel to become a commercially viable option for the regular courier driver. However, it is always worth looking to the future to stay one step ahead of the competition.