Big car names in fuel-cell push

2012-09-25 10:24

October 2012 marks a milestone in the history of fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV) in Europe. Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota will join forces to showcase their individual hydrogen-powered FCEVs on a European Hydrogen Road Tour 2012.

The event aims to reach out to politicians, industry leaders, news media and the public to help improve awareness around FCEV's and their benefits. Even though technology for hydrogen vehicles exists, hydrogen distribution infrastructure needs to be improved.


The European Hydrogen Road Tour 2012 is part of a “H2moves Scandinavia” project which focuses on gaining customer acceptance for hydrogen FCEV's and preparing the market for hydrogen fuel-cell technology. The experience from operating 19 FCEV's in Oslo, Norway, and Copenhagen, Denmark,  the corresponding hydrogen refuelling infrastructure shows that the technology is reliable, even in harsh Scandinavian winters.

Michel Gardel, vice-president for communications, external and environment affairs with Toyota Motor Europe, said: “Toyota has been active in fuel-cell technology for 20 years and is working to commercialise its next-generation fuel-cell car by 2015. This road tour is a great opportunity for our company and partners to demonstrate the readiness of the technology to Europe."

Christian Mohrdieck, director of drive development fuel-cell systems for Daimler AG, points out the importance of this technology: ”On our way to zero-emission mobility, fuel cell electric vehicles will play a central role for the future. However, the success of this technology depends crucially on certain conditions being in place, such as the availability of a nationwide hydrogen infrastructure.”

Thomas Brachmann, automobile engineering and research, Honda R&D Europe (Germany), said: “Honda believes fuel-cell electric vehicles are the ultimate mobility solution, providing a practical, environmentally clean and near silent answer to transport requirements. The European Hydrogen Road Tour offers a great opportunity to give the public, news media and government officials a chance to experience this impressive zero emission technology for themselves.”


Allan Rushforth, senior vice-president and COO of Hyundai Motor Europe, describes their reasons for joining the tour: “Hyundai is proud to be playing an integral role in the European Hydrogen Road Tour 2012. The Hyundai ix35 FCEV clearly demonstrates not only our commitment to producing hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles but also the benefits of FCEV.

"As the availability and performance of this technology improves, we can look forward to FCEV's providing sustainable mobility to future generations while dramatically reducing climate change.”

A fuel-cell transforms hydrogen’s chemical energy into electricity and heat. The only emission is water. In combination with an electric motor, it can be used to power vehicles, delivering a much higher driving range and faster refuelling time than battery electric vehicles. Fuel cell-electric vehicles deliver performance comparable with today’s conventional internal combustion engine vehicles but with zero exhaust emissions and almost no sound while driving.