California based Biliti Electric, an electric vehicle manufacturer, on Wednesday, 20th July, unveiled the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) powered electric three-wheeler vehicle, FastMile.
Biliti’s FastMile has a quick refueling time of less than 3 minutes and offers a long range of up to 130 miles, the company said in a release. The vehicle comes with a motor that offers a gradeability of 20°, and payload capacity of 1500 lbs, claims the company adding that the vehicle has been tested for more than 6,000 miles in rugged road conditions.
“This is a major step towards shaping the future of hydrogen energy and fuel cells for global markets. Thankfully, BEVs are not the only solution for decarbonizing transportation. We are transforming the application and commercialization of HFCs by bringing the technology to compact and affordable vehicles as well,” Rahul Gayam, CEO of BILITI Electric, said.
The main difference is that BEVs contain a large battery to store electricity, while FCEVs create their own electricity by using a hydrogen fuel cell. Global three-wheeler refueling market is worth USD 40 billion annually. At a price point of USD 7/kg of hydrogen, three-wheeler FCEVs achieve price parity with their conventional counterparts fueled by petrol or diesel.
According to Biliti, the production cost of grey hydrogen (produced using fossil fuels) is currently sub-USD 2/kg. This allows for transition to FCEVs today with the ability to switch to green hydrogen (produced from renewable energy), which is expected to drop to USD 1/kg by 2030, it added.
Electric three-wheelers (popularly known as e-tuktuks) are compact vehicles suitable for last-mile mobility applications. This class of vehicle actually has real utility in the right location. Both people and goods movement in crowded urban areas, coastal and island communities, gated neighborhoods, and sprawling suburbia are all key markets for these three-wheelers.
Till now the company has deployed its popular last-mile delivery vehicle Taskman (BEV) in 15 countries across the globe including Japan, USA, UK, France, Portugal, Germany, Lebanon, Uganda, Kenya, Senegal, Nepal, Bangladesh, Dubai and India, and has covered over 20 million miles. Taskman is currently being used by Amazon, IKEA, Flipkart (Walmart), Wasoko (Sokowatch), BigBasket (Tata), Zomato, JioMart (Reliance) among others.
Biliti’s SmartSwapp technology allows the vehicle batteries to be swapped in less than one minute. Luxembourg based GEM Global Yield LLC has earlier committed USD 400 million to Biliti in the form of a Share Subscription Facility. The company has also announced its plans to set up the world’s largest electric three-wheeler manufacturing facility in India.