Hydrogen powered courier fleet launches in BC

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Geazone Eco-Courier will be operating North America’s first hydrogen-powered courier fleet.

The Mirai

Geazone Eco-Courier is a B.C.-based zero emissions courier company that provides sustainable delivery services, third party logistics and freight services to businesses across Vancouver Island and Vancouver. Their 40 new Toyota Mirai fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are powered by hydrogen — and their only tailpipe emission is water.

“In places where the fueling infrastructure exists – as it does in BC – hydrogen-powered FCEVs really are the perfect zero-emission solution for organizations with fleets of high-use vehicles,” said Stephen Beatty, vice-president, corporate at Toyota Canada Inc.

“We commend Geazone for taking this bold and innovative step for their business, and we hope their fleet of Toyota Mirai will help demonstrate the value of FCEVs to other fleet owners looking to reduce their carbon footprint.”

Earlier this year, Toyota announced it was partnering with ride-share leader Lyft to make available a similar fleet of zero-emission FCEVs for ride-share drivers in the Vancouver area.

“Geazone is committed to providing a fast, reliable, affordable and sustainable delivery service with the customer in mind, and this new hydrogen-powered zero-emission fleet will help us achieve this,” said Geazone president and CEO Andrew Mitchell. “We believe all businesses can be champions of sustainability and we want to help lead this change.”

Geazone’s launch of its hydrogen-powered courier fleet is partly a result of changes in the economy brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. The company had been operating as an eco-courier with battery electric vehicles, but when pandemic shut things down, a lot of its business-to-business client base dried up. As a result they pivoted to a business-to-consumer model for final-mile delivery by courier.

“At the same time, we were also looking at adapting our fleet to hydrogen,” Mitchell said.

“When I saw the Toyota Mirai, I was excited. I took one for a test drive and a few days later, came back and told them I wanted 40 of them, right then and there. A few weeks later, we added the first batch of FCEVs to our fleet.”

With performance that competes with traditional internal combustion engines, the Mirai has an approximately 500-kilometre range and refuels in about five minutes.

Geazone plans on expanding their hydrogen-powered fleet in the coming months. At the moment their fleet includes human-powered tricycles, cars, and fully electric five-tonne trucks, as well as the Mirais.

BC emissions targets

The launch is timely, in light of a recent announcement by the government of British Columbia regarding its CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 plan to help B.C. achieve its 2030 emissions reduction targets and reach net-zero by 2050.

Geazone received rebates from the Province’s CleanBC Go Electric Hydrogen Fleet program, which offers fleet operators $8,000 to a maximum of 35 percent of selling price for the purchase of an FCEV to help B.C. businesses reduce emissions.

“We want to encourage more B.C. companies to make the switch to clean energy in their day-to-day business,” said Bruce Ralston, minister of energy, mines and low carbon innovation.

“Geazone Eco-Courier is a great example of a local company that is working to adopt cleaner vehicles which not only aligns with our hydrogen strategy and CleanBC Roadmap to 2030, but helps other businesses and communities reach their own climate change targets by ensuring their couriers are behind the wheel of zero-emissions vehicles.”

Hydrogen BC, the association championing British Columbia’s hydrogen industry, sees this fleet as a strong indicator of hydrogen’s growing momentum in the province.

“With four active hydrogen fuelling stations, and several more planned, British Columbia is certainly in the right place to launch a courier fleet of hydrogen-powered vehicles,” said Colin Armstrong, chair of Hydrogen BC.

“The foresight of the BC government combined with the innovative work of local companies means we have the necessary hydrogen fuelling infrastructure for a seamless fleet service operation. We’re excited to be home to North America’s first hydrogen-powered courier fleet, and we congratulate Geazone on this exciting venture.”

The federal government also recently released its Hydrogen Strategy for Canada, setting an ambitious framework to make Canada a global hydrogen leader.