A Scottish based hydrogen fuel  cell truck start up claims it has plans to disrupt the haulage industry, by unveiling what it describes as a clean-sheet-designed hydrogen commercial vehicle.

Hydrogen Vehicle Systems (HVS), claims to be a zero-emission, long-range hydrogen-powered commercial vehicle company, has showcased its first hydrogen vehicle in the form of a 5.5-tonne technology demonstrator, which it says offers a hint to its planned 40-tonne zero-emission prime mover, fulfilling the company’s objective of being the first indigenous UK designed and developed hydrogen- electric HGV on the market.

HVS  was founded  in 2017 in Glasgow and says it is focusing on the ground-up design and development of zero- emission hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles.

The company says that it comprises industry specialists, with vast experience in the automotive, energy, hydrogen technology, power electronics, sustainability and environmental management fields.

With UK government targets to curtail sales of all non-zero emission 3.5 -26tonne  commercials set to come into play by 2035 or earlier and all sales of new non-zero emission heavy goods vehicles by 2040, HVS says its world-leading technology will have the potential to play a crucial role in allowing emissions reduction targets to be achieved.

The company also says it has a defined route to market and in addition to funding from Innovate UK, Scottish Enterprise and Energy Technology Partnership,  it says its strategic investment partner is the service station and grocery corporation, EG Group, offering hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, fleet customer base and the potential for global scalability across the UK..

“This technology demonstrator showcases our ground-breaking hydrogen-electric commercial vehicle design and advanced powertrain technology, a precursor to our HGV model, said HVS CEO Jawad Khursheed.

“Fuelled by close-coupled green hydrogen (hydrogen produced directly by renewable energy sources such as hydro, wind or solar) our zero-emission trucks are a key part of decarbonising the logistics sector. Hydrogen is the perfect fuel for the haulage industry, offering long ranges and quick refuelling thanks to stations easily integrated into key transport networks,” said Khursheed.

“What’s more, we will supply our customers with the most advanced HGV in the sector delivering a step change in driving experience, lowest total cost of ownership and market-leading fleet management support,”  he added.

The company claims its prim mover units will be built on an all – new chassis, designed in-house around the hydrogen powertrain, which consists of pressurised hydrogen cylinders, fuel cells, energy storage system and eAxle.

The truck has been designed in-house by Pete Clarke, its head of design, who it says has a wealth of experience designing commercial vehicles that he brings to bear on HVS’ striking truck designs.

The company says the ground-up design brings innovation in packaging, performance, efficiency, weight, range, consumption, maintenance, and lifecycle benefits, while the technology demonstrator’s design allows improved aerodynamics compared with current ICE trucks.

It says that consequent benefits include enhanced fuel efficiency on long-haul runs and improved spatial ergonomics within the cab, including better access and more room at the controls, not to mention sector-leading aesthetics.

HVS  says its vehicle powertrain employs a fuel cell system and energy storage system to deploy electricity to an electric motor to transmit power to the wheels and uses the KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) to recapture energy under braking and while the truck is slowing down.

The company claims  that the integrated powertrain is controlled with its own control system called ‘SEMAS’, which will deliver fuel efficiency and durability which contributes to achieving a low cost of ownership comparable to that of current diesel-powered offerings in the market.

It says the fuel cell permits longer range, higher load-carrying capacity, and faster refuelling than would be possible using Lithium-Ion battery technology alone: typical refuelling time is comparable to diesel. It is in the long-distance HGV segment that hydrogen fuel cells offer the most advantages.

The only emission from the vehicle is water vapour, meaning there are no harmful green house gas emissions of any kind.