After successful UK vehicle trials, First Hydrogen has announced the launch of its new hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle (FCEV) program for North America.

The North American (NA) program will align with the company’s expansion plan and the maturity of Quebec’s hydrogen ecosystem.

First Hydrogen intends to develop two additional demonstrator FCEVs to showcase to potential North American fleet customers.

First Hydrogen will also continue its trial program in the United Kingdom with interested fleet operators.   

The North American demonstrator program is the next step towards its plans to build a vehicle assembly facility and green hydrogen production plant in Shawinigan, Quebec.

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Its “Hydrogen-as-a-Service” model will provide customers in the Montreal-Quebec City hub with clean green hydrogen fuel and zero-emission commercial vehicles in order 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. 

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

Steve Gill, Head of Automotive, First Hydrogen, said: “I am excited to be part the new North American program.  The application of our hydrogen powertrain technology to a North American vehicle platform will show the technology to a new set of customers.”

The North American, Quebec-based, development program will be led by Stéphane Gagnon as the Lead Engineer.

Stéphane Gagnon, Lead Engineer for First Hydrogen’s North American FCEV development program, said: “Joining First Hydrogen is an important milestone in my career. I truly believe that First Hydrogen’s FCEVs can have a tremendous impact on the transport sector’s decarbonisation.”

The news comes as the Canadian Government has further committed to developing the country’s hydrogen economy in its 2023 Fall Economic Statement.

To stimulate investment in projects, it has launched clean economy investment tax credits for carbon capture and storage and net zero energy technology, including hydrogen.

Introduced with C$17.7 billion (US$12.8 billion), the system is designed to help the country compete with the US and become one of the top three global producers of hydrogen fuel.