Arval is aiming to add 10 new company cars to a cutting edge hydrogen trial with the opening of a second refuelling station near to its head office. The fleet management and leasing specialist 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 a little 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, an international company which manufactures fuel cell components, and joins the original Swindon site at the nearby Honda car production plant.
Paul Marchment, SME Development Manager at Arval, 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.
Paul said that the additional 10 cars Arval was aiming to place would be both with businesses already operating hydrogen cars and those looking to take their first.
“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 is central to a range of projects designed to look at the practicalities of operating hydrogen vehicles; information which it can then pass onto its customers.