The evolution of the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle market, while not evenly remotely as robust as the growth of electric cars, is still seeing development and tinkering with by various players. One of the latest pushes in this regard is in Germany, where six partners in the so-called “H2 Mobility” initiative hope to have a large number of refueling stations online within a decade.
The H2 Mobility program is being undertaken by Air Liquide, Daimler, Linde, OMV, Shell and Total. It calls for expanding the current 15 hydrogen fuel cell filling stations in Germany’s public hydrogen infrastructure to around 400 H2 facilities by 2023. A first step towards this development is the goal of 100 such stations over the next four years being installed.
As with other large scale undertakings like this which stretch into the public sector, those involved in H2 Mobility have put in a request to Germany’s federal government for some kind of support. This would evolve into a joint venture that, after necessary regulatory approvals, aims to offer a H2 station
at least every 90 kilometres of motorway between densely populated areas. According to this plan in metropolitan areas, drivers of fuel cell powered vehicles will have at least 10 hydrogen refuelling stations available each from 2023. Thus zero tailpipe emission H2-mobility is becoming increasingly attractive for customers. The “H2 Mobility” initiative expects that a total investment of around €350 million will be required for this future-oriented infrastructure project.
Plans currently call for the launch of the first fuel cell vehicles in the German market by 2015, though in a number of cases we are seeing 2020 be a projected time frame for more mainstream entry of these offerings. Also, development of government backed infrastructure to support a market for this low carbon transportation option is not just limited to this nation, as we recently saw in California.
“Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe,” said Professor Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, in a statement. “However, filling stations for this environmentally friendly alternative fuel are still scarce. The ‘H2 Mobility’ initiative wants to change this. By 2023 there should be more hydrogen filling stations in Germany, than there are conventional petrol stations along the Autobahns today. With this, we create step by step a comprehensive infrastructure for the everyday use of fuel cell technology.”