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Second van gets JCB hydrogen treatment

JCB has installed one of its hydrogen-fuelled engines into a Mercedes Sprinter van.

Lord Bamford with the retrofitted vanThe Sprinter van is the second Mercedes vehicle to be retrofitted with a JCB hydrogen engine; earlier this year a 7.5-tonne Mercedes truck was given the JCBhydrogen treatment for proof of concept.

The latest retrofit was completed in just two weeks. One of the vehicle’s first test drivers was JCBchairman Anthony Bamford, who is leading the company’s £100m hydrogen engine initiative. His son Jo Bamford set up Ryze Hydrogen in 2021 to produce green hydrogen for vehicles.

The engine that JCB is trialling in vans is the same as those already powering prototype JCB backhoe loader and Loadall telehandler machines. It is made by JCB Power Systems in Derbyshire.

The Bamfords believe that hydrogen power provides a viable alternative to batteries for both road-going vehicles and industrial machinery, with refuelling taking minutes rather than hours. Lord Bamford said: “We have retrofitted this vehicle with a JCB hydrogen engine to demonstrate how simple it will be to convert existing vans and to show that it is not only construction and agricultural machines that can be powered by hydrogen. While converting vans will not be for JCB to do, it does prove there is something else other than batteries that can work very effectively.”

JCB has already manufactured more than 70 hydrogen internal combustion engines in a project involving a team of 150 staff.

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