APC funded Project ICEBreaker launched

APC funded Project ICEBreaker launched

Technologies from Viritech, HORIBA MIRA and Intelligent Energy with funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre to develop lighter, more efficient hydrogen fuel cell HGV trucks with lower cost of ownership.

  • Partnership aims to radically improve hydrogen powertrain efficiency to produce lighter, better zero-emissions 44-tonne HGV trucks
  • Motive power from new lightweight, high power fuel cells with smaller batteries and intelligent energy management software to deliver mass parity with diesel powertrains
  • Pioneering development of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle HGV digital twin to advance competitive total cost of ownership for operators
  • Proof of concept to be available to manufacturers and operators in late 2024

Loughborough – 6th September 2023 – Today a partnership of leading automotive technology companies confirmed its aim to radically overhaul the architecture of clean hydrogen powertrains to create a new and commercially competitive 44-tonne proof of concept truck for heavy goods vehicle manufacturers and operators.

With funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre, Viritech, HORIBA MIRA and Intelligent Energy will bring together their market-leading capabilities to deliver engineering solutions for the challenge of decarbonising the 500,000 HGVs currently in operation on UK roads. These currently produce a disproportionate 19% of all of the country’s transport emissions, a figure that is forecast to grow as the size of the national fleet increases.

A 44-tonne battery electric truck requires five tonnes of batteries, cutting the payload by up to 20% and costing £40,000 per year in lost revenue. Hydrogen fuel cells present a far more commercially viable alternative. The partnership between Viritech, HORIBA MIRA and Intelligent Energy aims optimise the architecture of hydrogen powertrain for the specific use case of an HGV and deliver a proof of concept truck for OEM and operator testing by late 2024.

As the lead partner, Viritech will bring its proprietary energy management hardware and software, optimised for fuel cell as prime mover, to target mass parity with HGV diesel powertrains to the project. The principle of using the fuel cell as the prime mover in the driveline is supported by Intelligent Energy’s latest generation of specialist fuel cells for heavy duty applications; engineering consultants HORIBA MIRA will bring its full vehicle engineering experience to bear by delivering the truck’s thermal systems modelling and engineering, systems integration and vehicle optimisation as well as validation and certification to the project.

With HGV viability critically linked to total cost of ownership (TCO) for operators, HORIBA MIRA will be using its experience in developing a digital twin of the ICEBreaker HGV with a driver-in-the-loop capability to pre-validate the vehicle’s TCO credentials.

Project ICEBreaker is a short-term, high-momentum project that commences next month and focuses on the integration of developing technologies to deliver a working proof of concept vehicle in the short term.

Timothy Lyons, CEO and Founder of Viritech said,

“The ICEBreaker program enables Viritech to move the development of its high-performance hydrogen powertrain technology to the next stage, by working with our partners HORIBA MIRA and Intelligent Energy to integrate a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain on a 44-tonne truck, and to demonstrate the huge benefits of this technology to manufacturers and their fleet customers.”

Greg Harris, Chief Commercial Officer, Intelligent Energy,

“Decarbonising heavy goods vehicles is one of the major challenges for industry to overcome, fuel cells provide the best technology for achieving that goal, so IE is very proud to be the fuel cell partner for this critical project.”

Join us in powering the hydrogen future ®


The scope and ambitions for Project ICEBreaker will be outlined in a presentation by Jay Nagley from Viritech at the Low Carbon Vehicle show at 12:45 today, Wednesday 06 September at the Tech Brunch in the Workshop Dome.

Media Information

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About ICEBreaker

ICEBreaker aims to make hydrogen fuel cell technology fit for purpose for heavy goods vehicles. By re-engineering the way FCEV powertrains work, the project will deliver a next-generation hydrogen HGV truck that delivers mass parity with diesel at a commercially-viable total cost of ownership for operators. ICEBreaker partners are Viritech, HORIBA MIRA and Intelligent Energy.

About Viritech

Viritech are passionate cleantech engineers with the goal of becoming the world’s leading developer of high-performance hydrogen powertrain solutions.

With an F1-derived engineering culture, focussed on agile innovation and the creation of valuable, licensable IP, Viritech’s business model is to design, prototype, test and license its technologies to global OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers. For more information, visit https://www.viritech.co.uk/


HORIBA MIRA is a global provider of automotive engineering, research and test services, with almost 80 years of experience in developing some of the world’s most iconic vehicles. Working in collaboration with vehicle manufacturers and suppliers around the world, they provide comprehensive support ranging from technology development and individual product tests through to full-vehicle design, development and build programmes.

Whilst traditionally known for its vehicle test services – including over 40 major facilities and 100km of Proving Ground – HORIBA MIRA is so much more than this. Over the last ten years it has invested heavily in the evolution of its engineering capability and in the development of MIRA Technology Park, Europe’s leading mobility R&D location for developing the latest automotive technology. The unique combination of engineering expertise, advanced testing facilities and prime location of MIRA Technology Park in the heart of the UK automotive industry, enables customers to develop and validate their technology, or vehicle, in one place. HORIBA MIRA’s purpose is to improve lives by making journeys safer, cleaner and smarter. For more information, visit https://www.horiba-mira.com/

About Intelligent Energy Limited

Intelligent Energy Limited is focused on the development and manufacture of its lightweight hydrogen fuel cell products ranging from 800W to 300kW+ for customers in the automotive, aerospace, generator, telecoms, materials handling and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) sectors.

The company is headquartered and manufactures in Loughborough in the UK, with additional offices and representation in the US, Japan, China and South Korea. For more information, visit https://www.intelligent-energy.com/

About The Advanced Propulsion Centre

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) collaborates with UK government, the automotive industry and academia to accelerate the industrialisation of technologies, supporting the transition to deliver net-zero emission vehicles.

Since its foundation in 2013, APC has funded 199 low-carbon projects involving 450 partners, working with companies of all sizes, and will have helped to create or safeguard over 55,000 jobs in the UK. The technologies developed in these projects are projected to save over 350 million tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of removing the lifetime emissions from 14.1 million cars.

With its deep sector expertise and cutting-edge knowledge of new propulsion technologies, APC’s role in building and advising project consortia helps projects start more quickly and deliver increased value. In the longer term, its work to drive innovation and encourage collaboration is building the foundations for a successful and sustainable UK automotive industry.

For more information, visit https://www.apcuk.co.uk/