French company Symbio FCell thinks that electric vehicle technology and hydrogen fuel cells should get along. In the same delivery vehicle, in fact.

Last year, Symbio started testing a hydrogen fuel-cell range extender that was built into a Renault Kangoo electric vehicle. Today, Symbio announced it has delivered the first five of a planned 40-vehicle fleet of Renault Kangoo ZE Light commercial vehicles (LCVs) with a bespoke hydrogen fuel cell range extender. This system carries 1.8 kilograms (almost four pounds) of H2 on board and each kilogram extends the range by about 100 kilometers (62 miles). So, the Symbio system doubles the range of the Kangoo ZE, which "makes hydrogen-powered electric vehicles more competitive in the automotive markets," Symbio says.

The vehicles were ordered as part of a project led by the Conseil Général de la Manche, which already has a hydrogen refueling station available and has what Symbio says is an "important potential" for making low-carbon electricity, like hydrokinetic, offshore wind and nuclear.
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Symbio FCell Launches the First 5 Hydrogen-Powered Utility Vehicles out of a 40 Fleet in La Manche (France)
January 26, 2015 03:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

PARIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In a major step towards the commercial deployment of zero-emission hydrogen-powered electric vehicles, Symbio FCell has put on the road the first five Renault Kangoo ZE Light commercial vehicles (LCVs) powered by its hydrogen Fuel Cell Range-Extender, as part of a full fleet project led by the Conseil Général de la Manche which will rapidly deploy 40 vehicles. This project demonstrates the effectiveness of hydrogen power but also the reliability of Symbio FCell's as the world-leading provider hydrogen fuel cell Range-Extender.

Today Symbio FCell announces the launch of five first new hydrogen powered Light Commercial Vehicles equipped with the Symbio FCell Range-Extender, as part of a venture directed by the Conseil Général de la Manche, whose ambition is to pioneer the green hydrogen production and distribution in France. La Manche indeed counts amongst the first departments in France to own a hydrogen filling station (active in Saint Lo) and five plug-in hybrid battery fuel cell light vehicles. Furthermore, it has an important potential for low-carbon electricity production, based on marine renewable energies (hydrokinetic and offshore wind) and nuclear.

The Conseil Général de la Manche aims to put on the road a total of forty hydrogen-powered Renault Kangoo ZE utility vehicles equiped with the Symbio FCell Range-Extender. This technology recharges the battery when it drops below a certain level and permits the vehicle to be refueled with 1.8kg of hydrogen, 1kg of which powers a distance of over 100km; the range-extender therefore almost doubles the daily range of battery powered vehicles, a significant improvement that makes hydrogen-powered electric vehicles more competitive in the automotive markets.

Symbio FCell provides mobility solutions based on the conversion of hydrogen to electricity thanks to PEM Fuel Cell systems, powering from 5 kW to 300 kW still remaining zero emissions. These solutions can be integrated in a large panel of applications and are well adapted to road vehicles, fluvial boats and other types of platforms with intensive usage cycle in urban area.

Fabio Ferrari, CEO of Symbio FCell, comments: 'The 'Range-Extender' increases both driving range and availability of Electric vehicles for commercial usage, while reducing the investment in battery recharging infrastructure for large fleet. Closer to a traditional ICE vehicle, this ensures seamless operations for professional intensive urban usages as demonstrated in previous experimentations such as La Poste'.

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