Following the recent announcement of a new green hydrogen production and refuelling facility, MIRA Technology Park’s cluster momentum for next-generation mobility businesses accelerated forward by another step with the confirmation that Innervated Vehicle Engineering aims to challenge the foundations of the light goods vehicle (LGV) market with the development of the van of the future from its new operation at MTP.
Innervated Vehicle Engineering, or IVe, has identified that the 2.5 million diesel vans on the UK roads are environmentally unsustainable in the near-term, yet no complete solution exists to provide fleet owners with low total cost of ownership options that are emissions-free yet can manage a 1.5 tonne payload across a daily itinerary of over 600km.
IVe’s IndiGo, which will be developed at MIRA Technology Park, meets precisely this requirement. The company’s engineering team has dispensed with all conventions that have governed – as well as hampered – light goods vehicle design and engineering for the past six decades. Its industry experience is derived from executive leadership at companies including Prodrive, McLaren, Cummins, Alexander Dennis, GM and FIAT among others. IndiGo uses a clean and modular hydrogen fuel cell propulsion drivetrain, organic and non-metallic structural materials, optimised 3D space utilisation, low energy micro-manufacturing techniques and advanced connectivity to revolutionise the productivity of the vehicle, the well-being of professional drivers and deliver a zero-emissions footprint for the logistics and delivery sector.
Premised on the return-to-base and transient (or mixed urban, rural and highway) itinerary of most diesel-powered LGVs, IVe’s engineers have developed a fuel-cell solution to provide IndiGo with an emissions-free, high payload, 600km daily shift capability that cannot be achieved with battery electric solutions. The modular hydrogen drivetrain packaging allows IVe customers to be agnostic to fuel cell or hydrogen storage hardware suppliers, enabling fleet operations the flexibility to upgrade or change sub-assemblies without compatibility issues common to OEM-only solutions. Providing operators with fuel infrastructure and supply is integrated by IVe into its proprietary van-as-a-service offer. With lower operating costs, total cost of ownership is further reduced by IndiGo’s projected 15 year lifecycle, lasting 128% longer than the average diesel van and the company is also developing a retrofit solution for larger operators who have significant residual value in existing diesel fleets.
IVe’s challenge to the OEM model and its compelling financial proposition however is only one part of the revolution to tackle the frustrations and cost drivers of fleet management. The IndiGo itself makes a number of significant breaks with tradition, utilising hemp in the construction of body panels that in turn dispense with the need for traditional paint processes, while non-metallic chassis fabrication does not requires high energy manufacturing processes such as welding. The vehicle platform at the front has been laid out to optimise driver safety and manoeuvrability with a wheel-forward design, while payload has been enhanced with a low, flat floor with scope for an optional driver rest pod. A central driving position enhances all-round visibility and minimises costs for operators working in both left and right-hand drive markets. Common fleet management costs arising from damaged wing mirrors has been circumvented with all-round driving cameras with HUD displays in the A pillars, while van theft has been tackled with all-round keyless entry, removing the potential for lock-breaking.
IndiGo has been backed by Innovate UK and is scheduled for pre-series trial orders in September 2023, with production orders arriving in early 2024.