15.08.2023, Author: Stefan Feulner

Stock News: First Hydrogen - Over 100% better than the competition — Test results far exceed forecasts

  • Hydrogen
  • Fuel Cells
  • climate change
  • Transportation

The start of testing under real road conditions for the Canadian hydrogen innovator's hydrogen fuel cell-powered light commercial vehicles got off to a furious start and clearly demonstrated the advantages over both battery-electric vans and internal combustion engines. Admittedly, the "Light Commercial Vehicles" have only been tested by two of the sixteen major fleet operators participating in the British "Aggregated Hydrogen Freight Consortium". However, the impressive results already suggest that the internal target of selling between 10,000 and 20,000 units in 2025/2026 is no utopia. In the best case, the sales volume would amount to EUR 1 billion. Currently, the market value of the First Hydrogen share stands at EUR 90.84 million.

Hydrogen fuel cell clearly ahead

It is arguably one of the most important questions when it comes to the future of CO2-free transportation. While the automotive industry is focusing its portfolio on battery-powered vehicles for passenger cars, in the transport sector for light and heavy commercial vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell technology offers enormous advantages. Hydrogen has a high energy density of 33.33 kWh/kg, giving it almost as much energy as 3 kg of gasoline. The lithium-ion battery, in comparison, has a maximum of 0.5 to 0.6 kWh/kg. As a result, the fuel cell enables longer ranges and shorter refueling times.

The global market for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCV) is estimated at USD 9.3 billion and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15.8% over the period 2023-2033.

On a single refueling, the hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle managed a range of 630 km during SSE test drives. Source: First Hydrogen Corp.

Newcomer with a unique strategy

Alongside established players such as Stellantis, Renault or Hyundai, First Hydrogen is establishing itself as a newcomer that has taken a unique path since the beginning. One is investing in a clean hydrogen mobility system from the ground up, without the typical OEM legacy of fossil fuels or previous EV investments. The best-of strategy, the integration of existing technologies and a proven chassis, currently the MAN eTGE, allows both significant cost and time advantages to be realized. Cooperating with market leaders brings closer the production target expressed by CEO Balraj Mann of delivering between 10,000 and 20,000 units of the First Hydrogen Utility Van per year from 2025/2026.

Ballard Power and AVL Powertrain, two global players in the industry, have been on board since the start of development. The two prototypes are equipped with the latest generation of Ballard FCgen-LCS fuel cells, which give the vehicles a range of over 500 km. AVL Powertrain Limited, in turn, is the world's largest independent automotive engineering, simulation and testing company and was responsible for the concept, architecture and production of the hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles.

630 km on one tank

To date, Rivus and SSE, two of sixteen major fleet operators in food, delivery, healthcare and utility industries, have been testing the 1st generation prototypes under real-world road conditions coordinated by the Aggregated Hydrogen Freight Consortium (AHFC). Then, in each case, the data collected by the onboard telematics will be analyzed, and comparisons will be made between battery electric vehicles and internal combustion engine vans. On the occasion of test drives by one of the UK's largest energy infrastructure companies, the FTSE 1000 company, SSE Plc, recently achieved the best mark of 630 km range on a single refueling in real-world operation. By comparison, comparable light commercial vehicles powered by electricity manage just 240 km.

Gemma Horne, Warranty Controller at Rivus, commented after the 4+ weeks of testing: "The main advantage of the First Hydrogen vehicle is that refueling times are shorter than battery-powered vehicles. And, of course, hydrogen vehicles produce zero emissions, unlike internal combustion engines."

In addition, a remarkably low average fuel consumption of 1.58 kg of hydrogen per 100 km, even at consistently high speeds, has been measured. According to SSE drivers, the vehicle drives similarly to a diesel but without harmful environmental emissions. In addition, the FCEV was able to keep its battery fully charged at all times due to the energy recovered during braking. This shows that the amount of kWh charged and consumed was nearly equal, highlighting the high efficiency of First Hydrogen's energy management system.

Rivus with convincing report

First Hydrogen is already one step further with the test series with fleet management provider Rivus, which operates around 120,000 vehicles. The latter has now published an extremely positive interim report after just over four weeks of testing, highlighting, in particular, the vehicle's efficiency in various load conditions compared to battery-powered light commercial vehicles. In addition, it was separately noted that the FCEV had an unbeatable range, and refueling was very quick at less than 5 minutes.

In total, more than 1,125 km were covered. This included trips in city centers, on interurban roads, i.e. both inner-city trips and faster traffic routes, as well as combined routes that included both urban areas and interurban roads and highways. Rivus tested the van empty and loaded up to 90% of its maximum capacity, which corresponds to the real operating conditions of these vehicles.

Due to strong company performance, First Hydrogen has outperformed both hydrogen companies and comparable companies in the transportation sector since late 2021. Source: Refinitiv Eikon, as of 08/14/2023

Interim conclusion

The issue seems to be settled. In addition to the far greater range per tank filling as well as significantly shorter refueling times, commercial vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells appear to be gaining ground in light commercial vehicles compared to battery-powered automobiles. In test drives under real road conditions, the Light Commercial Vehicle developed by First Hydrogen achieved a range of 630 km, beating even the internal estimates of the experienced management.

With the extremely successful start of test drives of the prototypes under real road conditions, entry into the mass market should take place by 2026 at the latest, which should bring the Canadians a sales volume of around EUR 1 billion. Compared to the stock market value of around EUR 90 million, First Hydrogen is thus not overvalued compared to other companies in the sector.

In addition to the development of light commercial vehicles, the group also plans to cover the entire value chain in the hydrogen sector. This relates not only to the expansion of a filling station infrastructure but also to the production and sale of green hydrogen. It is expected that further progress will be made in these areas during the course of the year.

The update is based on the initial report 07/2022

Conflict of interest

Pursuant to §85 of the German Securities Trading Act (WpHG), we point out that Apaton Finance GmbH as well as partners, authors or employees of Apaton Finance GmbH (hereinafter referred to as "Relevant Persons") may hold shares or other financial instruments of the aforementioned companies in the future or may bet on rising or falling prices and thus a conflict of interest may arise in the future. The Relevant Persons reserve the right to buy or sell shares or other financial instruments of the Company at any time (hereinafter each a "Transaction"). Transactions may, under certain circumstances, influence the respective price of the shares or other financial instruments of the Company.

In addition, Apaton Finance GmbH is active in the context of the preparation and publication of the reporting in paid contractual relationships.

For this reason, there is a concrete conflict of interest.

The above information on existing conflicts of interest applies to all types and forms of publication used by Apaton Finance GmbH for publications on companies.

Risk notice

Apaton Finance GmbH offers editors, agencies and companies the opportunity to publish commentaries, interviews, summaries, news and the like on These contents are exclusively for the information of the readers and do not represent any call to action or recommendations, neither explicitly nor implicitly they are to be understood as an assurance of possible price developments. The contents do not replace individual expert investment advice and do not constitute an offer to sell the discussed share(s) or other financial instruments, nor an invitation to buy or sell such.

The content is expressly not a financial analysis, but a journalistic or advertising text. Readers or users who make investment decisions or carry out transactions on the basis of the information provided here do so entirely at their own risk. No contractual relationship is established between Apaton Finance GmbH and its readers or the users of its offers, as our information only refers to the company and not to the investment decision of the reader or user.

The acquisition of financial instruments involves high risks, which can lead to the total loss of the invested capital. The information published by Apaton Finance GmbH and its authors is based on careful research. Nevertheless, no liability is assumed for financial losses or a content-related guarantee for the topicality, correctness, appropriateness and completeness of the content provided here. Please also note our Terms of use.