British commercial electric vehicle startup Tevva has launched its first truck with a hydrogen fuel cell the company says will have a range  up to 500 km and  will provide fleet operators with greater zero-emission range.

It is yet another in a long line of EV startups, in what will be a crowded zero emission market if all of them last and the established makers bring similar clean energy trucks to market in coming years.

The England-based Tevva, which is based at Tilbury,  has so far raised  more than $AUD200 million from investors and later this year says it will launch production of a fully-electric version of its 7.5 tonne truck.

The startup said it will launch production of the hydrogen fuel-cell version of its 7.5 tonne truck in 2023, followed by 12 tonne and 19 tonne models.

“We’re big believers in this dual-energy approach because batteries alone don’t always serve the needs of all our customers,” Tevva chief executive Asher Bennett said. “Batteries are heavy so can eat into payload and charging very large batteries is not always easy.”

Hydrogen fuel cells are seen by some in the truck industry as a long-range solution because they don’t need to carry as big a battery bank  which saves an enormous amount of weight while  allowing  far greater range and payload than a pure battery electric machine.

But hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles will need infrastructure not just for fuel stations,, but also for producing  the “green” hydrogen using renewable energy, both of which are critical but unlikely to be in widely in place until the early 2030s.

Tevva’s head of hydrogen Harsh Pershad,  said the startup is working with providers of hydrogen fuelling options for fleet customers.

In the last couple of years, investors seeking the next Tesla have pumped billions of dollars into EV startups.But as traditional automakers prepare to churn out electric vans and trucks, startups are seeking a competitive or technological edge to stay on the road.

Recently U.S. commercial EV startup Electric Last Mile Solutions commenced bankruptcy proceedings because of a lack of funds. Meanwhile EV maker Canoo warned investors in May it might not be able to meet its financial obligations and had “substantial doubt” about its going concern