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Fuel cell vehicles from 2014 onwards, but infrastructure is needed

29 Nov 2011

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On 22 and 23 November, Daimler, Linde, Honda, Intelligent Energy, Opel and Toyota organised the fourth annual edition of the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) Drive ‘n’ Ride in Brussels. Manufacturers plan to launch FCEVs on the market from 2014 onwards, but more infrastructure is needed for the market success of hydrogen fuel cells.

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8 FCEVs were accessible for test-drives during the event

So far, there are approximatively only 200 fuel stations worlwide (with some 70 being publically accessible) at which fuel cell vehicles can be refuelled with hydrogen.

“Clean and energy efficient technologies such as market ready fuel cell and hydrogen pave the way towards the transformation of our fossil-fuel based economies to a more diverse and energy secure future whilst contributing to a sustainable economic recovery” said Henri Winand, CEO of Intelligent Energy. “Only a joint effort of Member States, the EU and the private sector today will put these cars on the road as of 2014”.

Carmakers participating in the Drive ‘n’ Ride emphasised that in the current economic situation, only public-private partnerships can create the stable framework needed to bridge the gap to full commercialisation. According to the EU, clean technologies offer huge commercial opportunities and a market for innovative transport technologies of €300 billion in 2020 (up from €200 billion today).

Drive ‘n’ Ride experience

During the Drive ‘n’ Ride, more than 100 European Union officials, members of the European Parliament and other high-level stakeholders had the opportunity to experience the reality of clean technology by driving one of the eight FCEVs on display.

In addition, Daimler and Linde demonstrated the refuelling process of FCEVs with their fully mobile and compact hydrogen station.

Going-Electric had the opportunity to do a 30-minutes test-drive of the Mercedes B-Class F-Cell. The car is very silent thanks to the electric motor, provides powerful acceleration and, according to Mercedes, it can reach a top-speed of 170km/h. This car was also one of the three to participate earlier this year in a trip around the world organised by Mercedes, crossing four continents and 14 countries in a wide range of weather conditions.

About Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles

Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are electric zero-emission cars. Their electric motor is powered by electricity, which is produced on board by an electrochemical reaction combining hydrogen and oxygen without a combustion process. They offer full performance comparable to a conventional internal combustion engine in terms of range and speed; however they do not use gasoline and are environmentally friendly, as they produce no tailpipe emissions.

The hydrogen used in FCEVs today is mostly produced from natural gas. However, hydrogen can be produced using renewable energy sources such as wind or solar power to provide a completely zero-emission well-to-wheel footprint.

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