HDRIVE – a subsidiary of Australian specialist vehicle manufacturer BLK Auto – has announced its foray into the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (HFCV) truck market, with plans to enter production.

The company is set to commence production following a successful Australian design and engineering period for its range of HFCV truck options, although, at least initially, the vehicles won’t be built onshore.

While design and engineering is said to have taken place Down Under, the HFCV trucks will initially be built at the Wisdom (Fujian) Motor Company – whose majority shareholders are Ballard and Hong Kong investment company Templewater – facility using Ballard Fuel Cells.

The company says it has already taken “several orders” for its HFCV trucks, which include a dual control side lifter waste truck, and a 6×4 prime mover purchased by fuel provider Pure Hydrogen.

“Moving our trucks from development into production is an exciting milestone for both BLK Auto and HDrive and consolidates our reputation as an innovative commercial vehicle manufacturer,” said HDrive managing director, Jason Pecotic.

“As Australia’s leading clean energy commercial vehicle manufacturer, HDrive continues to deliver turnkey commercial vehicle solutions to customers that are competitive on price yet do not give ground on build quality or vehicle performance.”

The range of HFCV trucks available will include prime mover hydrogen trucks with 4×2 drivetrain, 24-tonne gross vehicle weight, 6×4 driveline with, 18- to 70-tonne GVW, 8×4 driveline with 49 tonne GVW, refuelling trucks in 6×4 configuration, dual control waste trucks in 6×4 configuration, and cement mixer/agitator trucks in 8×4 and 10×4 configurations.

The range of HFCV trucks will sit alongside BLK Auto’s current range of hydrogen coach, bus and truck options, suitable for heavy-duty use with the range of configuration options.

BLK Auto released Australia’s first hydrogen coach last year, following an 18-month research and development program.

Over the past year, ten of the coaches have sold for use in Western Australia’s harsh Pilbara region, prompting further development of the company’s truck range.

HDrive, despite its name suggesting a sole focus on hydrogen, is also offering an autonomous battery-electric terminal tractor, with a load capacity of up to 75 tonnes, designed for use in major ports and warehouses.

HDrive says it is working with customers to define specifications for additional HFCV models, working to establish partnerships and supply agreements.

The news comes as Australia’s local suitability for HFCV trucks improves, with Viva Energy’s plans to build a $43.3-million New Energies Service Station in Geelong, Victoria.

Australia also has hydrogen-vehicle refuelling stations in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney; however, they are not available for public use.

Viva Energy says its public use facility will kick-off the development of the ‘new energy’ refuelling network, set to extend to Sydney and Brisbane.

Extracted in full from: Car industry Manufacturing | News | GoAuto