Trust an Aussie company to come up with a hydrogen-powered ute

Hans van Leeuwen
Europe correspondent
May 19, 2023 – 7.21am

Rotterdam | It has taken an Australian-founded company to bring that definitive Aussie touch to the embryonic market for hydrogen vehicles. At the hydrogen industry’s global jamboree in Rotterdam last week, H2X showcased a hydrogen-powered ute.

H2X’s stall at the back of the Dutch city’s cavernous exhibition centre attracted an almost constant crowd of the keen and the curious, gazing raptly at the converted Ford Ranger with a hydrogen motor under the bonnet.


H2X co-founder Chris Reitz with a prototype hydrogen-fuelled ute. Hans van Leeuwen

“We made it a 4WD – that got us a lot of response, more than we expected,” H2X co-founder Chris Reitz told AFR Weekend as he stood by and spruiked his Australian-born start-up.

The Warrego has a top speed of 130 kilometres an hour and a range of about 500 kilometres from its fuel tank, made of woven carbon fibre and containing 4.8 kilograms of hydrogen.

But if you’re wondering where you might refill the tank, therein lies the catch. In the worldwide absence of any network of hydrogen fuelling stations, H2X’s pitch is to owners of professional fleets – companies with a base at which refuelling can take place.

“The backbone of our business is professional drivers – so we work with fleets and back-to-base set-ups,” Mr Reitz said.

He sees that as a positive, as it allows H2X to start building scale before countries get a full hydrogen-vehicle refuelling infrastructure in place.

“We solve the whole chicken-and-egg problem,” he said.

A big company in the vehicle manufacturing chain, known as an OEM (original equipment manufacturer), would need to launch a new product at national or even continental scale.

“They won’t reach the numbers to break even at that point. To do that they need an infrastructure of filling stations covering that continent,” Mr Reitz said. “We can deliver, say, an 800-vehicle order, whereas OEMs need to think big.”

Mr Reitz said bus and truck fleet owners would be attracted to hydrogen because they have to run the vehicles up to 24 hours a day, so they would prefer the faster refuelling time. It takes so much longer to recharge a battery that you might need twice as many vehicles, to cover for those that are on charge.

“We believe battery has its place, we never criticise it. But for certain applications, hydrogen has the advantage that you can refuel in the time that you are used to,” he said.


Calling card

For both its utes and trucks, H2X will initially drop its hydrogen power trains into existing models, like the Ford Ranger on display in Rotterdam.

It is unlikely, though, that Australians or Europeans will see thousands of Warregos on the road – Mr Reitz described it as more of a calling card.

“There is high demand for utes, but they are expensive for us because we need to buy them and retrofit them. So the margin is not there,” he said.

“We will do a limited number. It’s a demonstrator product. We’re using it as a test for the production of a 3.5-tonne van.”

The Darling van is the subject that gets Mr Reitz most animated. The company has been looking at ways to manufacture it less carbon-intensively. This involves making a chassis almost origami-style, rather than pressing it together in energy-guzzling stamping facilities.

The van prototypes are being made in Germany and the Netherlands, with production of up to 70,000 vehicles a year to start at a first factory potentially as soon as 2026.


A computer image of H2X’s planned hydrogen-fuelled van.

H2X also has a plant in Sweden, where it is installing hydrogen engines into the chassis of 18-tonne and 26-tonne trucks for clients in that region. In Gothenburg, they have a contract to supply garbage trucks, and the council has its own hydrogen filling station.

The company’s vision is to produce its vehicles at small plants in each country where it gets enough demand, rather than shipping vehicles around the world. The target markets are north-western Europe, South-East Asia and Australia.

“We will produce in situ – that’s more sustainable. Big manufacturers need to produce in a very different way because they are on a different scale to us,” Mr Reitz said.

He and Australian co-founder and CEO Brendan Norman set up H2X in 2020 after having worked together with Chinese group Grove Automotive, until the COVID-19 pandemic got in the way of that partnership.

The original plan was to produce cars for the retail and industrial markets in the NSW town of Port Kembla, but the focus has shifted to a more step-by-step strategy involving professional fleets in Europe.

Standing right next to the ute, though, it is hard not to feel that the promise of everyday drivers being able to choose hydrogen might be within touching distance.

Mr Reitz cautiously agreed: “I believe it will penetrate the market more and more. It’s a little bit like diesel versus gasoline: there will be complementary technologies. Diversity is good for any market.”


Warrego: Australian Hydrogen EV Manufacturer moves to compliance for its first All-Wheel Drive Hydrogen Pick-Up Truck. 

  • H2X Announces its Warrego Pick Up now under rigorous European vehicle compliance validation and verification
  • Australian right-hand drive model to commence testing soon
  • Video of the Warrego in the current status is now available

Hydrogen fuel cell EV manufacturer, H2X Global, has announced the release of the first production of its Warrego All Wheel Drive Pick-Up Truck. 

The Warrego is now undergoing final validation and verification testing procedures in the Netherlands as it heads towards gaining European and global certification. Australian certification testing will commence soon. 

H2X Global CEO and founder, Brendan Norman, said the completion of the first Warrego pick-up was a successful milestone for the company. 

The Warrego follows the successful production and launch of a range of hydrogen fuel cell emergency power and industrial use generators.  

“It is extremely satisfying that our team now have the Warrego running through the final stages of its engineering, safety and on-road verification program and production readiness,” Mr Brendan Norman said. 

“We have indeed had some frustrating delays over the past nine months; however, we are now well on track with our rollout plans,” Mr Norman said. 

“Supply chain issues, which have negatively impacted manufacturing companies worldwide, put us about nine months behind schedule; however, our production and engineering teams have done an amazing job to overcome these problems, and we are now back on schedule.” 

H2X Global has released a video of the Warrego as it moves towards European Homologation and Certification.  

The Warrego is H2X Global’s first application to demonstrate the company’s capabilities platform that will be used as a basis for the upcoming all-new H2X Darling Delivery Van in a couple of years. This will be the first of the fully developed and optimised vehicles from H2X. 

After the vehicle is ready to go through the process of global homologation, optimisation and improvement efforts are taking place to enhance its performance. 

Brendan Norman said the focus for the first Warrego had been for a European release for several reasons but mainly due to the availability of hydrogen at the customer level in several cities where to order status has been high and government support is present to develop the Hydrogen economy. 

The Warrego Pickup features a full version of the H2X powertrain developed for light vehicles featuring a Supercapacitor-based Hybrid system operating in AWD mode.  

“The Warrego is essentially a demonstration vehicle which we can offer to several customers to accelerate the availability of an AWD light commercial vehicles to customers, using a state-of-the-art Hybrid Hydrogen Fuel Cell System.”  Says Brendan Norman, CEO of H2X Global.    

“This application will be applied in a more optimised form in the Darling Delivery Van and Taxi/MPV targeted for release to support the large number of European cities which will be closed off from Diesel and Petrol vehicles from 2025.”  

The first release Warrego features a 60-kW fuel cell connected to a hybrid battery/supercapacitor electric drive system. This is connected to a 700-bar type 4 hydrogen tank system constructed of an advanced polymer and Carbon Fibre base, which offers exceptional safety levels with very long standards of operation.  

While this will allow the car to work at the lower 350 bar compression, it can run at much higher compression rates which will double the range per tank. 

The Warrego will be available to customers over the coming months and in line with the availability of hydrogen.  The vehicle will be produced in Europe and Australia at the H2X facility in Sale, Victoria.  

About H2X Global 

H2X Global is an Australian automotive and power unit company focused on absolute sustainability. The company is focused on harnessing the most efficient and effective technologies, with the onus on capturing free and renewable energy sources. A specialisation in hydrogen is the basis of H2X’s growth, however, with a robust platform as a maker of electrically powered vehicles, the company has a versatile approach to finding the right car for the right task. H2X Global operates in Australia, Malaysia, India, and Europe. 


For Further Information Please Contact: 

Brendan Norman 

CEO H2X Global 

E: [email protected] 


Bill Moss  

Head of Sales & Marketing – EMEA 

T: +44(0)7766815285 

E: [email protected] 


Tony Blackie 

Press Officer  

T: +61 411 743 142  

E: [email protected]