FCEV and EV vehicles trialled together as part of ‘PEAK Express’ project

A trial where hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) and electric vehicles (EV) will run together between multiple destinations and attractions is taking place at the Peak District National Park.

Air Products, a leading hydrogen producer, is providing hydrogen and refuelling infrastructure for the trial.

The trial, which is delivered in partnership with stakeholders in the Peak District National Park and Chesterfield, will test the suitability of both FCEV and EV vehicles for use in the area. The trial route connects eight key locations and attractions including Chesterfield Train Station, Chatsworth, and the Gateway development, which will act as a hub for ‘PEAK Express’ when it is due to open in 2025.

It’s the first time FCEV and EV vehicles have been trialled together in the UK as the project aims to explore alternatives to fossil fuels and gather feedback on customer experience. The electric and hydrogen electric buses will be provided by Toyota and the trial will be used to gather data about each technology’s suitability for the varying terrain and refuelling needs.

Manish Patel, UK Hydrogen for Mobility Director at Air Products, said: “It’s really exciting to be providing hydrogen to a project that could make an important contribution to UK carbon neutrality targets, and be a real asset to this region.

“We’re committed to finding solutions to some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. Our involvement in the trial is testament to both growing demand for hydrogen fuel and our intention to contribute to the decarbonisation of the heavy-duty transport industry. We’re looking forward to providing safe, reliable clean energy in this landmark trial.”

Once fully operational, ‘PEAK Express’ at the Gateway alone aims to remove 500,000 visitor journeys from the National Park, reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 3.6 million kilograms per annum and providing a national exemplar of sustainable visitor economy growth. The long-term ambition is to see multiple hubs located around the Peak District National Park boundary.

Jon Hunt, Alternative Fuels Manager at Toyota, added: “There is not one simple solution for zero-carbon mobility. That’s why this trial provides us with an exciting opportunity to trial both EV and FCEV vehicles, assessing which is more suitable to different types of journeys across the park. We will also be looking at optimal ways to provide refuelling and provide great levels of customer service on board the vehicles.”

The trial has been running since 5th September and will finish on the 16th. PEAK Express is planned to be fully operational as part of the Gateway at PEAK Resort, due to open in Spring 2025.

Images courtesy of Air Products.

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