Proton Power announced that round one of its fuel cell range extender tests on the Smith Edison electric truck has wrapped up without a hitch. The vehicle, a Smith Edison light commercial van – based on the Ford Transit chassis and outfitted with Proton Power's fuel cell setup – displayed a "significant increase" in range over the electric-only model. Round one of testing kicked off in September and, with that step complete, phase two is primed to begin. These tests are expected to run until sometime next summer.

If those are successful, Proton Power will scale up its fuel cell system and install it in the Newton, Smith's 7.5- to 12-ton battery-powered truck. A fuel cell range-extended Newton is expected to be production-ready by the end of 2011. Proton Power has yet to reveal pricing for its ranger-extending system, but we'd expect that the "significant increase" in range comes with an amplified cost. Hat tip to Roy!

[Source: Proton Power Systems]

PRESS RELEASE

Successful Trial Results


Successful trial of fuel cell range extender for Smith Electric Vehicles

Proton Power Systems plc (AIM:PPS), a leading designer, developer and producer of fuel cells and fuel cell electric hybrid systems, is pleased to announce the success of the first testing phase for the range extender system for Smith Electric Vehicles ("Smith"). The Group is conducting trials on the 'Smith Edison' light commercial vehicle, which is based on the Ford Transit chassis.

Once trials on the Smith Edison have been completed, Proton Power will commercially launch its system in the 'Newton', Smith's 7.5 to 12.0 tonne all-electric truck.

The initial phase of the operation, which began in September 2010 at the Stuttgart DLR Institute, showed that the additional energy from Proton Power's fuel cell system provided a significant increase to Edison's operational range. The final range benefit will depend on the size of the integrated fuel cell system, the onboard storage capacity for hydrogen and the vehicle's drive cycle. Overall, the positive trial results are in line with the Group's expectations.

Commenting on the range extender system, Thomas Melczer, CEO of Proton Power, said: "We are delighted that the first phase of testing for our range extender has been such a success and we believe it will provide a significant improvement for the market of electric powered light duty vehicles. The improved range of operation opens up exciting new possibilities to the Group as we begin to address a wider market segment. I wish to thank the whole team at Proton Power and Smith for their efforts in achieving these excellent results."

Kevin Harkin, Sales Director for Smith Electric Vehicles, said: "Enhancing the range capabilities broadens the application for electric vehicles within large fleets, without compromising our zero emission philosophy. Through the trials, we have already received notable interest from fleet operators in the Proton Power system and we look forward to reporting in due course on the next stage of development."

The second phase of testing will include the complete integration of the Proton Power system into a Smith vehicle and is expected to run until summer 2011. The Group expects the commercial launch of the vehicles towards the end of 2011.

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