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ABT e-Line bringing fuel cell van into series development

ABT e-Line GmbH, a subsidiary of the ABT Group that specializes in alternative drives, has decided to start series development of hydrogen fuel cell vans based on the reception of its demonstrator vehicles.


The company gained experience in the integration of fuel cell drives in two large Tier 1 projects over the last three years. Two series-produced e-transporters were converted as demonstrator vehicles with this technology. These were presented for the first time at the IAA Transportation trade fair in Hanover at the end of September. ABT e-Line has now decided to commercialize this technology with partners.

When setting up the demonstrator vehicles, the company took over the vehicle integration of the fuel cell system, the safety concept of the entire vehicle, the complete manufacturing process and the road approval. Furthermore, a 700-bar hydrogen tank system was integrated. Two to seven storage tanks can be refuelled in a few minutes.


By implementing the new drive concept, a range increase of several hundred kilometers was achieved. Refuelling is now necessary even later than with comparable diesel models.

Even if the future of mobility will be predominantly battery-electric for efficiency reasons, the fuel cell offers potential for niche applications, especially in the van sector, the company suggests. The energy density typical of hydrogen, which is far from being possible with current battery technology, is a real USP here when range is important.

In addition, refueling is much quicker than recharging batteries. ABT e-Line is taking on the role of a technology driver and expert for the conception and realization of market-ready small series for fuel cell drives.



What a PITA!


Yeah, suiting the technology to the application, what a weird thing to do!


Why fuel cells for this application? These vehicles are primarily used for local delivery. They even admit that "the future of mobility will be predominantly battery-electric for efficiency reasons". I talked to a number of delivery vehicle drivers when I was working at my company. Almost all of them drove less than 100 miles and some only drove about 60 miles. Because almost all of the deliveries are during business hours, charging can be done night and they do not even require rapid charging. Look at the specs for the GM BrightDrop battery electric delivery vehicle. It has a range of around 250 miles which is probably more than is required even in rural areas. Maybe an argument could be made for using hydrogen long-haul trucking but for delivery?? Even if battery electric would not work for 2% of the cases, why not take care of the 98% of the cases first?



Hydrogen is Haute Couture



I am unable to follow your argument.
Clearly if those running delivery fleets etc can conveniently run BEVs, within their required routes, and that is more economic, they would do so.

The notion that that will work for every route simply ignores variability.

There is loads of data out there, and in general if there is higher route variability, the need for a very swift turnaround so that the choice is between rapidly degrading the battery through fast charging or using hydrogen etc, high climatic variability so that on some days the range of BEVs is not practical, or big changes of elevation then it is often more practical to use fuel cells.

That is why for instance in the French Alps Maritime La Poste uses fuel cell battery hybrids, as the terrain goes up and down a lot and the temperature in the winter plummets.

We are now way past the stage where it is in any way sensible to claim that one solution, batteries, currently works everywhere.

All that is needed is to look at real world cases, of which there are plenty.

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