Fuel cell carmakers and industry highlight zero emission mobility

November 23, 2011 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
On 22 and 23 November, carmakers Daimler, Honda, Opel and Toyota have organized for the fourth time their Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Drive 'n' Ride in Brussels. At the event, the companies demonstrate how zero-emission technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells tackle transport emissions, one of the European Commission's two environmental priorities for 2012.

During the Drive 'n' Ride, more than 100 EU officials and other high-level stakeholders have the opportunity to experience the reality of clean technology by driving or riding in one of eight fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) on display. In addition, for the first time in Brussels, a fully mobile and compact hydrogen station, provided by industrial gases vendor Linde AG and Daimler, will demonstrate the refuelling process.

The lack of infrastructure is currently the crucial factor for the market success of green technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells. So far, there are only approximately 200 fuel stations worldwide (with some 70 being publically accessible) at which fuel cell vehicles can be refuelled with hydrogen.

Several public-private partnerships, both on a national as well as on an international level, are aiming to increase the number of fuelling stations in order to offer a sufficient hydrogen supply to the growing number of fuel cell-powered cars, expected to hit the streets from 2014 onwards. Among European carmakers, in particular Daimer and Opel are pioneering this approach as a alternative to battery electric powertrains.

“Economic and environmental uncertainties are high in Europe today. 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. Only a joint effort of Member States, the EU and the private sector today will put these cars on the road as of 2014”, says the panel’s key speaker, Henri Winand, Chief Executive Officer of Intelligent Energy. 

Carmakers participating in the Drive ‘n’ Ride emphasize 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