Chris Reitz helped design the modern Fiat 500 and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. He is also the designer of the Riversimple Rasa but is no longer on that team. He has now made a partnership with Brendan Norman, a former BMW, and VW executive, to create H2X. The new Australian car manufacturer plans to specialize in FCEVs, and its first vehicle will be up for sale in July 2021.
If you think the SUV pictured below will be that vehicle, we’ll have to correct you. That car is called Snowy – yes, you can also see snow in sunny Australia – and the company wants it to be for sale by 2024 – with a preview in May 2023. Before that, it will produce larger vehicles.
According to @AuManufacturing, the company will release two heavy vehicles before its passenger cars. That makes a lot of sense: fuel cells offer the most benefit for trucks, buses, and whatnot. Being lighter than equivalent batteries, they allow these vehicles to carry more cargo. @AuManufacturing bets on buses and interstate trucks. The company has already released images of a large van and a smaller one. You can as the main picture in this article.
Gallery: H2X Will Give Australia A New Carmaker Based On FCEVs
There is another aspect of selling these vehicles before passenger cars. Buses and trucks can be refueled in large garages, without the need for a hydrogen station network to be in place. The passenger cars demand that. That is why the company says the presentation of the Snowy depends on having that infrastructure already in place.
H2X will have a factory in Port Kembla, New South Wales. Reitz and Norman worked together on FCEVs at Grove, a Chinese company. After leaving it, they decided to found H2X and managed to have investments from Elvin Group and Ken Mathews. The former deals with concrete production and construction in Canberra, and the later runs the Denzo Group, a renewable energy company.
It would make a lot of sense if the first fuel-cell trucks produced by H2X were sold to the Elvin Group. The Denzo Group could also use the company’s products for carrying its workers on solar farms, for example.
The company plans to develop two platforms for these vehicles. The larger one will be shared by the trucks and buses and have two fuel cells able to generate 300 kW to 550 kW.
The smaller platform will be used by its passenger cars. As an example, the Snowy will have a 60 kW fuel cell to generate electricity and will also have a battery pack, probably a small one. The company says it will offer a total of 190 kW (255 hp). Apart from the SUV, H2X will also sell a tractor based on the small platform.
With the investments, the company plans to be able to produce 3,700 vehicles in its first production year (2021). By 2025, H2X aims to be building 25,000 per year.
To get there, H2X already hired 70 people. Among them are Peter Zienau and Ian Thompson. @AuManufacturing says the former was the global project lead for the Chevy Bolt and the latter the development lead for the Tesla Roadster. We were not able to confirm none of them in these positions.
While the production will start in July 2021, H2X aims to start running the prototype for its first vehicle in November 2020. We hope it decides to show it to the press before tests start.