The AA patrol zero-emission hydrogen patrol vehicle.

The AA patrol zero-emission hydrogen patrol vehicle.

Photo: AA

Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, the Cinderella to battery-electric vehicles in the zero-emission tailpipe market, are starting to get some serious consideration from fleets. 

In the U.K., the Automobile Association — a roadside recovery firm — has just launched its first hydrogen roadside recovery vehicle. 

A converted-for-purpose Hyundai NEXO, the hydrogen fuel stack car can be fueled in five minutes delivering an impressive range of 414 miles.  

The AA says it will be deployed in ultra-low-emission zones. 

First Hydrogen demonstrator van undergoes inspection by the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service...

First Hydrogen demonstrator van undergoes inspection by the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service for on-road fleet approval tests.

Photo: First Hydrogen 

While an SUV, the AA says it has kitted out the NEXO with most of the tools, equipment, and spares that the company carries in its famous fleet of yellow patrol vans. 

Edmund King, AA president, said: “The discussions about carbon reduction and zero-emission vehicles have tended to concentrate on Battery-Electric Vehicles (BEVs). 

"At the AA, we are investing in electric vehicles but believe that there will be a role for hydrogen and possible synthetic fuels in the future, especially for business fleets. 

 “We want patrols to pilot this hydrogen fuel cell vehicle to see what lessons we can learn. We believe hydrogen might be used for our bigger tow trucks in the future. 

“The AA Hyundai NEXO could be a perfect fit for patrol work in ultra-low emission zones, so we are looking forward to putting it to work. We accept that the hydrogen refueling infrastructure is not currently extensive, and further work is needed on the development of green hydrogen, but the 414-mile range makes the vehicle viable for our needs.” 


First Hydrogen Vans Complete Commissioning Trials 

Meanwhile, Vancouver and London-based First Hydrogen has successfully completed commissiong trials of two demonstrator hydrogen vans, run on behalf of First Hydrogen by build partner AVL. 

The two vehicles have been inspected in the U.K. by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service to ensure control measures were satisfactorily met. 

Steve Gill, CEO at First Hydrogen Automotive, said: "We are pleased that Essex Fire and Rescue Service were reassured to see the control measures put in place so have supported the application for use on the county's roads. This also paves the way for future hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to be accepted for UK road testing. With real-world fleet trials due to start early next year, we are moving towards our goal of accelerating the adoption of zero-emission vehicles in the light commercial vehicle market.” 

The company says that 12 fleets from a range of industries - including telecoms, utilities, infrastructure, delivery, grocery and healthcare - have registered to participate in fleet trials of the vehicle.  

In Europe, trials with Stellantis brand hydrogen vans have been ongoing. The company has also appointed Jean-Michel Billig as chief technology officer with a brief to oversee development of hydrogen vehicles for the company. 

Further Reading: Hyundai Invests in Hydrogen