Arval plans to expand hydrogen car fleet
14 November 2018
Author: Sean Keywood
Leasing company Arval is aiming to add ten new hydrogen-powered company cars to an ongoing trial, following the opening of a second refuelling station near its head office.
The firm is taking part in a project called the Hydrogen Hub, which aims to show the viability of fuel cell technology across a range of domestic, commercial and transport applications in the Swindon area.
With the trial now just over a year old, Arval has been leading the car stream, with six company cars from Hyundai and Toyota in operation for The Science Museum, Nationwide Building Society, Johnson Matthey and Arval itself.
The new hydrogen station has been opened at the offices of Johnson Matthey, a manufacturer of fuel cell components, and joins the original Swindon site at the nearby Honda car factory.
Arval SME development manager Paul Marchment, who is overseeing the trial, said: "It is difficult to overstate the importance of having a second refuelling facility locally. For fleets, it simply makes taking on vehicles more viable.
"The reasons for this are simple. Firstly, if one hydrogen station is unavailable, there is another to use, so the cars can continue to operate. Secondly, it increases convenience and the sense that the hydrogen fuelling network is growing."
Marchment said Arval was aiming to place the ten additional cars, both with businesses already operating hydrogen cars and those interested in taking on their first.
He added: "To some extent, we are limited by the availability of vehicles. Opening a new station is a strong signal to the manufacturers involved that Arval, and fleets based in Swindon, are serious about hydrogen as a fuel of the future, which should help us attract better supply.
"There are a number of new models coming to the market in the next year, including perhaps a van for the first time, so it really feels as though the whole subject of hydrogen vehicles is gaining momentum at the moment."
Arval is chair of the Hydrogen Hub's car working group, and says it will be able to pass information from a range of projects looking at the practicalities of running hydrogen vehicles on to its customers.