On September 13th 2012, a fleet of seven hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) from Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota embarked on the European Hydrogen Road Tour. The FCEV began their journey in Hamburg, visiting the University where the Hydrogen Colloquium was held in conjunction with a Ride & Drive. Keynote speakers included representatives from each of the participating automotive companies: Takashi Moriya (Honda), Katsuhiko Hirose (Toyota), Peter Froeschle (Daimler) and Byung Ki Ahn (Hyundai), shown from left to right in the image below. While in the city the vehicles also visited Europe’s largest hydrogen refuelling station, which opened in February 2012 and was jointly funded by Vattenfall and Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport.
The fleet of FCEV then moved on to Hannover, where Solvay Company hosted a VIP panel discussion with representatives from industry and politics and a public ride & drive event. During the visit to Solvay the FCEV were refuelled using a mobile hydrogen station made by H2Logic, shown with the Daimler FCELL below. Germany has ambitious plans to expand its current network of fourteen hydrogen refuelling stations to 50 by 2015 through projects supported by the National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Innovation Programme (NIP) and funding totalling €20 million.
The next leg of the tour was held in Bolzano, Italy to coincide with the Klimamobility Fair, an international trade fair for sustainable mobility. Targeting visitors to the fair and the general public, the FCEV were available to test drive (above right) beside a range of other electric cars and bikes. Currently the vehicles are en-route to the Paris Motor Show, taking place from the 27th – 29th September. Here the participants will again be hosting a ride & drive, exhibiting in Pavilion 2.1 at the show and also holding a VIP cocktail reception.
From there they will travel to the UK touring four cities in four days (Cardiff, Bristol, Swindon and London). The vehicles will be on display at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff (3rd Oct), at a VIP breakfast event at the Create Centre in Bristol (4th Oct), refuelling at the Honda (UK) manufacturing facility in Swindon (4th Oct) and finally participating in a VIP event at London’s City Hall and a ride & drive along Concert Hall Approach on the South Bank (5th–6th Oct). To register for any of the UK-based events click here. Updates for the whole event can be seen on the H2moves Scandinavia website which also hosts links to photos from the event on its Facebook page and Flickr account. A video taken during the event at Solvay in Hannover demonstrating the vehicles driving and being refuelled can also be viewed on YouTube (commentary in German). Updates from the UK leg of the European Hydrogen Road Tour can be followed on twitter at twitter.com/H2RoadTourUK. The final part of the tour takes place in Denmark to coincide with the Global Green Growth Forum (9th–10th Oct) in Copenhagen.
Recently, three leading global automakers have publicly reiterated their plans for the commercial release of FCEV by 2015. Starting with Honda’s President and CEO, Takanobu Ito, who held a press conference where he reiterated the company’s plans to release next-generation FCEV sequentially in Japan, the U.S. and Europe starting in 2015.
Toyota announced its progress developing FCEV, with its new stack boasting more than double the stack power density with around half the size and weight of previous versions. It also confirmed vehicle deployment plans through 2015 with plans to launch its sedan-type FCV around 2015.
Hyundai announced it is leasing fifteen zero-emission, hydrogen-powered ix35 fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) to the Municipality of Copenhagen, supporting the Danish capital in its efforts to become carbon-free by 2025. The vehicles are to be delivered in spring 2013. Hyundai has a long history in fuel cell development (starting from 1998) with a roadmap targeting the introduction of fuel cell vehicles by the end of 2012 and consumer sales by 2015. This is on track, with the current ix35 FCEV being the company’s commercial model which will go into full-scale production for 2015.
Dan Carter Manager