Analysis and Commentary

First drive in H2X hydrogen power Warrego utility

Analysis and Commentary

By Peter Roberts in Amsterdam

About 100 kilometres from Amsterdam in a workshop dedicated to vehicle electrification sits one of two unique hydrogen fuel cell-electric utility vehicles – Australian company H2X Global’s Warrego utility (pictured, below).

The company converted two such vehicles based on Ford’s Ranger concurrently, one here in Holland and a second at its facility in Sale, Victoria, fitting them with the company’s hydrogen fuel cell drive trains (main picture).

H2X Global CEO Brendan Norman picked me up in Amsterdam, where I am working for a period for a change of scene, and drove me to view, and drive in, the Warrego.

First announced in 2020, Norman explained the Warrego is a proof of concept vehicle for H2X – 250 will be built and placed with users to test and collect information on the performance of the drive train.

Hydrogen is stored in composite tanks before being fed into an H2X fuel cell – this charges a supercapacitor which drives an electric motor powering all four wheels.

First observation is that the system appears very well resolved, thanks in no small part to the highly capable partners Norman has worked with to bring the project from an idea to near commercial readiness.

The vehicle drives in essentially the same way as a battery electric vehicle – storing and releasing energy from a supercapacitor rather than a bank of batteries seems to make no difference.

Silent in running, a number of odd mechanical noises become apparent – noises that are covered up with engine noise in an internal combustion powered vehicle.

Acceleration is rapid, and the vehicle agile, as is the original Ranger.

Said Norman: “H2X aims to design and deliver the best zero emission hydrogen powered commercial vehicles, made by professionals for professional drivers.”

In no small way the Warrego lives up to that promise.

H2X Global is involved with hydrogen powered bus projects in Malaysia and Sweden, among other places.

But its real goal, with the role of the Warrego a technology proof of concept, is the development of a hydrogen powered van – the H2X Darling (pictured, below – all the company’s vehicles are to be named after Australian rivers.)

Having tested markets globally for where hydrogen powered vehicles are needed, Norman chose a delivery van and expects the Darling to be released in 2024.

In H2X Global Norman has created a lean business structure, with only 50 employees and many tasks outsourced to partners and suppliers.

But in two a short years he has created a viable hydrogen fuel cell drive train and vehicle, now being tested in operation.

His next goal remains to manufacture the unique Darling – drive train, body and all – in Australia.

He is at the stage where governments in enlightened countries are courting his investment in their own countries – now would be the time for state and federal governments to get behind this effort to re-establish vehicle manufacturing in Australia.

This time with H2X, instead of an offshoot of some multi-national, we could have a home-grown company with a home-grown vehicle that meets the market opportunity.

That’s a goal we can all applaud and support.

Pictures: H2X Global

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