European coalition launches flagship hydrogen program

There is a reason that transport technologies have remained so conservative over the decades. A new fuelling system can only work if the infrastructure exists to get the energy to the car, but the cost of setting up such a system is prohibitive when so few people own the cars.

This has been one of the biggest roadblocks in the way of consumers adopting hydrogen vehicles, but a new European body aims to change that. Hydrogen Mobility Europe is a flagship coalition that aims to lay down the skeleton of a necessary hydrogen vehicle infrastructure by 2019. It brings together some of the world’s biggest names in fuel cell research, including Daimler, SymbioFCell, Hyundai, Honda, Icelandic New Energy, Intelligent Energy, Nissan, Air Liquide, BOC, H2Logic and ITM.

The project draws together similar national initiatives from Germany, France, Scandinavia and the UK, and has been funded to the tune of €32 million from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking. This makes it the most ambitious project of its kind to date.

However, its goals are still demonstrative rather than commercial. The plan calls for the sale of 325 fuel-cell powered cars and vans to everyday consumers, the construction of twenty-nine hydrogen fuelling stations, and to carry out a long-term study to demonstrate the technologies readiness for the mass market.


This map, included in the press release, shows the planned distribution of hydrogen refuelling stations. By today’s standards, it will mark the world’s largest network of hydrogen refuelling stations, however the distribution of stations suggests that German customers will be well catered for, but other countries will face severe limitations on their movements, at least initially.

It is likely to be a few years yet before fuel cell cars hit the big time. However, as an experiment and a way of raising awareness, yesterdays’ announcement marks a milestone for the technology.