MELBOURNE – R2.65-million is perhaps a bit more than you’d expect to pay for a Ford Ranger, but the H2X Warrego Ute is no ordinary bakkie.
It is the creation of Australian start-up H2X and although it’s based around the basic platform and shell of the Ford Ranger, the Warrego Ute has a completely unique hydrogen fuel cell powertrain.
Set to be a global offering, the H2X Warrego will be fully revealed in November this year, before going on sale in April 2022. Base models reportedly sell for 189’000 Australian dollars (R2-million) while flagships will stretch to $250,000 (R2.65-million).
Although the vehicle is dependent on hydrogen refuelling infrastructure (which is sorely lacking in many countries, such as South Africa), owners can look forward to a range of 500km between refuels. And unlike electric cars, with their extensive recharge waiting periods, hydrogen cars can be refuelled in just 3 to 5 minutes. The fuel cell uses a chemical reaction to convert the hydrogen into electricity.
The H2X Warrego is powered by a 200kW electric motor, fed by fuel cells that are available in 66kW and 90kW guises, and super capacitor units are also available, the company says.
H2X says the Warrego will offer a one-tonne payload and a towing capacity of 2.5-tonnes.
With this solution, H2X wants to dispel the notion that ‘green’ solutions can’t compete with diesel when it comes to practicality of use. “We believe we are the first Australian company to produce a commercially viable vehicle to meet those demands,” said company founder Brendan Norman.
H2X says there has been huge global demand for its new fuel cell bakkie, which reportedly attracted $50 million worth of order requests in just four days after the order books were opened in early September. H2X says the interested buyers are a combination of private buyers as well as energy companies.
And the Warrego Ute is just the beginning, with H2X planning to roll out a whole range of fuel cell electric vehicles over the next two years.
There’s no word, at this stage, on whether any of the H2X vehicles will ever be launched in South Africa, but given the lack of refuelling infrastructure, it would seem unlikely.