First Hydrogen Corp. Initiates Fuel Cell EV Program for North America


First Hydrogen Corp. has launched its new hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) program for North America. The North American program will perfectly align with the company’s expansion plan and the maturity of Quebec’s hydrogen ecosystem, the company says.

The company intends to develop two additional demonstrator FCEVs to showcase for potential North American fleet customers. First Hydrogen will continue its successful trial program in the United Kingdom with interested fleet operators. 

The FCEV trials in the UK have shown hydrogen power will be essential to meet the critical range, payload towing and fast refueling capabilities required by fleet operators in sectors such as grocery, parcel delivery, mining and utilities that cannot be met by battery-electric vehicles. Over the past year, First Hydrogen’s UK engineering team’s dedication to the development of the company’s FCEV has generated leading knowledge and expertise in the hydrogen automotive sector. 

The North American demonstrator program is the next step toward the company’s plans to build a vehicle assembly facility and green hydrogen production plant in Shawinigan, Quebec. First Hydrogen’s “Hydrogen as-a-Service” model will provide customers in the Montreal-Quebec City hub with clean green hydrogen fuel and zero-emission commercial vehicles to accelerate the creation of zero-emission ecosystem solutions. The assembly facility target will be for annual production of up to 25,000 vehicles for distribution throughout North America and will represent a major boost to green technology jobs in the region.

The North American, Quebec-based, development program will be led by Stéphane Gagnon as lead engineer. Gagnon brings over 30 years of experience to First Hydrogen, previously as program manager for the development of the Airbus A220 (C-Series) at Bombardier Aéronautique and as chief engineer at Novabus (a division of Volvo Group). He will work closely with the head of Automotive, Steve Gill, and his team. 

“It is important for us to share our knowledge gained from the development of the two UK FCEVs as we add FCEVs in Quebec,” says Francois Morin, vice president of Development — North America. “The additional FCEVs build momentum as we move forward with the hydrogen production and vehicle assembly plant in Shawinigan.”

“I am excited to be part of the new North American program,” says Gill. “The application of our hydrogen powertrain technology to a North American vehicle platform will show the technology to a new set of customers. There will be new challenges, but I am confident in our professional skills and determination to create additional demonstrators to our existing FCEVs.”

“Joining First Hydrogen is an important milestone in my career,” adds Gagnon. “I truly believe that First Hydrogen’s FCEVs can have a tremendous impact on the transport sector’s decarbonization. Looking at the success the company has reached in the UK with hydrogen technology and the customer experience really motivates me to implement such a program in North America. Also, working with all the suppliers and regulatory bodies to build the best in-class North American demonstrators is an achievement that I’m looking to do with dedication and pride.”

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