Every car manufacturer that wants a slice of the LCV segment has launched some electric models. But Vauxhall also wants to try a different recipe. Vauxhall’s new zero emissions Vivaro-e HYDROGEN light commercial vehicle has a range of up to 249 miles, refuels in just three minutes and a cargo volume of up to 6.1 m3, the same as the diesel or battery electric versions.

Vauxhall expects right-hand drive vehicles to arrive in 2023. Sister brand Opel plans to start delivering the first left-hand drive vehicles to fleet customers in autumn/winter 2021. The Vivaro-e HYDROGEN will be assembled at Vauxhall/Opel’s Research and Development Centre in Rüsselsheim, Germany.

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The new fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) is based on the existing battery electric Vivaro-e with two sliding side-doors. The plug-in fuel cell concept of the Vivaro-e HYDROGEN enables the integration of the whole fuel cell system with the existing traction motor under the bonnet of the production vehicle.

In addition, the battery of the Vivaro-e BEV (battery electric vehicle) is replaced by three 700- bar hydrogen tanks. The carbon-fibre cylinders can be filled in just three minutes, giving a range of 249 miles.

Thanks to the smart packaging, the battery electric version becomes a fuel cell electric LCV without any modifications to the body (available in standard 4.95m and long 5.30m wheelbase) and with no impact on the 5.3 m3 to 6.1 m3 of cargo space, while the payload increases to 1,100kg.

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The Vivaro-e HYDROGEN with its 45kW fuel cell is capable of generating enough power for continuous motorway driving, while the 10.5kWh lithium-ion battery, located under the front seats, provides dynamic peak power when required – for example, at start-up and under acceleration. Since the battery covers power needs in such situations, the fuel cell can run at optimum operating conditions. The battery also enables regenerative braking, while the plug-in capability offers the opportunity to recharge the battery externally if necessary, e.g. at a charging station, providing 31 miles of pure battery electric range.