For environmentally-conscious UK drivers and fleet managers looking for a green alternative to help reduce the carbon footprint of their courier jobs, the news that the popular Renault Kangoo ZE-H2 electric van has doubled its range to an impressive 250 miles per top up is an exciting development. The possibility of a zero-carbon operation looks one step closer to reality. |
Fuel Cell Extender
The reason for the breakthrough is the addition of a hydrogen fuel cell extender, which has been produced by French-based company, Symbio FCell. The company claims, under genuine urban testing, a Kangoo ZE-H2 van fitted with the Symbio unit set a world record with a range of 228 miles (10 hours 36 minutes at an average speed of 35mph).
The technology behind the fuel cell range extenders makes the vehicles far more competitive with petrol and diesel engines and works by automatically recharging the battery with hydrogen when it falls below a certain level. The fuel cell extenders fitted to the Kangoos are able to refuel with 1.8kg of hydrogen (with 22kw battery charge), which effectively doubles its range from previous models without the extender.
Hydrogen refuelling takes under three minutes to complete, but the vehicle allows the option to plug-in whenever is possible and convenient as well. The vehicles are available exclusively in the UK through Arcola Energy, who have, to date, sold 32 of the Kangoo ZE-H2s fitted with the extenders.
A Green Package
Arcola Energy have gone one step further to make the vehicles even more appealing, by offering an integrated package of services and after sales support in partnership with ITM Power. What this means is the process of sales, registration, compliance, refuelling and training is essentially centralised, making for an extremely convenient service -particularly for fleets.
For fleet operators, Arcola Energy and their partners can provide an onsite or local refuelling base with the purchase or lease of the Kangoo electric vans. Self employed drivers or those working for smaller companies can refuel at any of the stations in the extensive network already established around the UK.
Why Go Electric?
While there is still some way to go before these zero-emission vans become a familiar sight on our roads, more and more delivery drivers are considering purchasing an electric vehicle for their courier jobs. The benefits are compelling and include:
• Low energy costs • Quiet operation • Environmentally friendly • Optimised charging times (and improving) • Generous after sales support • Increasing choice of models • Zero emissions • Exempt from London congestion charge • Compatible for all UK city clean air zones
The Future is Coming – Fast
A Symbio F Cell spokesperson said the impressive stats afforded by the fuel cell extender are set to become even more impressive, with the next generation models of the Kangoo ZE-H2 predicted to reduce hydrogen consumption yet again.
With one of the most popular commercial vehicle manufacturers offering the outstanding benefits afforded by hydrogen fuel cell extenders, there's little doubt others will soon be following in their footsteps. For fleet managers and independent contractors making their living from courier jobs, the future is electric in every way!
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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