Hydrogen cars: the enthusiasm in Asia, doubts in Germany

Водородные автомобили: энтузиазм в Азии, сомнения в Германии

Toyota and Hyundai are confident in the prospects of hydrogen, Volkswagen does not believe in H2, many in Germany see it as fuel for trucks and not passenger cars. But Berlin requires: build!

In Germany the rapidly growing interest in hydrogen (H2). But is this eco-friendly energy source a promising fuel for cars? The opinions on this matter diverged, and surprisingly sharp. On the one hand, the Minister of transport of Germany Andreas Scheuer (Scheuer Andreas). In 2021-2022 years on the roads of the country have to drive 60 thousand hydrogen cars, to the surprise of many he announced at the conference “Hydrogen and the energy turnaround” in Berlin on 5 November. The automotive industry, the Minister continued, “is to bring to market affordable cars and to show people that this technique works reliably”. On January 1, 2019 in Germany had registered at least 400 hydrogen cars.

Volkswagen is not going to fulfill the requirement of the Minister

On the other hand, the head of Volkswagen Herbert Dis (Herbert Diess). Exactly one day before almost the ultimatum of the Minister, he spoke at the opening ceremony of serial production of the first “people’s electric car” VW ID.3. In his speech, he stopped and hydrogen technology. Her time, considers a top-the Manager will not come in the upcoming, but only in the next decade (in 2030-ies), but to apply it would be mainly other means of transport – trucks, trains, ships.

In other words, the largest avtostroitel Germany (and the world) don’t even think to fulfill the requirement of the Minister: Volkswagen’s all bet on electric cars. All-electric passenger cars in Germany was on January 1, 2019, a total of more than 83 thousand. They can add more than 340 thousands of hybrids, of which 67 thousand was charged from a wall outlet plug-in-hybrids.

On the evening of November 4 in Berlin hosted a meeting of German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Angela Merkel), with heads of the German automotive industry, which discussed the development of electromobility in Germany. One of the solutions: in the next two years to install across the country 50 thousand new public charging stations. Now there are about 21 thousand, and it is believed that it is very small for the widespread introduction of cars that run on electricity. The German government aims by 2030 to bring the number of stations to 1 million.

BEV vs FCEV: unequal power

And the next day participated in the meeting Andreas Scheuer (“hydrogen yesterday the theme was, of course, is not a priority”) at a conference on hydrogen not without pride, reported that “in the spring of 2020, we in Germany will have 100 hydrogen filling stations”. By 2021 should be added another 15. The corresponding statement of intent the Minister signed a joint venture H2Mobility, which along with energy companies like Shell and Total, the German Daimler avtostroitel.

He last year in small batches produces GLC Mercedes F-Cell, which in seven German cities it is possible to take in leasing. And in September at the Frankfurt motor show 2019 provides a model BMW i Hydrogen Next, the production of which, again in small batches, the Bavarian carmaker will begin in 2022.

All these figures show what is currently on the German market the balance of power between the two environmentally friendly alternatives to vehicles with internal combustion engines (ice) between the electric vehicles, powered by batteries (BEV), and hydrogen vehicles (FCEV), in which the energy for the electric motor is generated during the reaction of H2 with oxygen in fuel cells.

In such a situation the automotive industry in Germany has clearly made a choice in favor of electric cars, said the President of the Association of German automotive industry (VDA), Bernhard mattes (Bernhard Mattes) at a meeting in late October in Stuttgart the conference Handelsblatt Auto-Gipfel 2019. On other continents, he added, can bet on other technologies (he meant “hydrogen” plans of Japan and South Korea), but Europe, in his opinion, the creation of an extensive infrastructure, multiple types of alternative financial engines just do not pull.

Toyota Mirai: the volume of production will increase tenfold

At this conference the automobile manufacturers and their suppliers have discussed the prospects of the German and global automotive industry, and it really was mainly about hybrids and electric vehicles. However, two reports were devoted to hydrogen cars. Very revealing that they were made by the representatives of two Asian firms.

Vice President for research and development European branch of Toyota Herald Killman (Gerald Killmann) reported that a Japanese company ten times increase production of the hydrogen Toyota Mirai. He brought the absolute numbers are still annually produce 3 thousand units, production of the new generation of this model it was decided to increase to 30 thousand per year (for comparison: in 2018, the company sold a worldwide total of over 10.5 million vehicles).

The Manager recalled the success story of the world’s first mass-produced hybrid car Toyota Prius. The first generation, launched in 1997, it was unprofitable, second, he said, went better, “the third made a good profit today, more than half sold by us in Europe of the cars are hybrids.” Something similar could happen with hydrogen technology, says the Herald Killman.

The main potential buyers of the Toyota Mirai he believes the taxi company, services, transportation of VIP-passengers, parks, office machines firms and agencies. And it’s not just the high price (in Germany this hydrogen car is worth about 80 thousand euros).

Toyota comes from the fact, told the Herald Kilman that the average buyer is more suitable for electric vehicles: he drives a car at night and a significant part of the day is usually idle, so there is time to recharge. “The hydrogen technology perspectives rather in the professional sphere, where a car needs to work around the clock or to transport goods”, the reporter said, and pointed to the decisive advantages of cars on fuel elements: a refill lasts 3-5 minutes, and the range of mileage is more than 500 kilometers.

Hyundai Nexo and hydrogen trucks to Switzerland

Thus, the two leaders of the global automotive industry, Volkswagen and Toyota, almost agree that H2 will be widely distributed on trucks. They differ in terms of assessment. And this is clearly due to the fact that Japan is already in force agreed between the government, producers and infrastructure companies plan to 2030 to increase the number of hydrogen cars on the roads of the country to 800 thousand. And in Germany there is a government plan to the same time to increase the number of electric vehicles to 7-10.5 million.

Meanwhile, in South Korea launched a pilot project on transition of H2 from the three cities. It’s not only road transport, but also on electricity and heat supply, and Hyundai will put its fuel cells, told the Stuttgart representative of the German branch of the South Korean company Oliver Gutt (Gutt Oliver). At the same time it increases beginning in 2018, the release as the hydrogen SUV Hyundai Nexo (price in Germany: around 70 thousand Euro) and H2-trucks.

Now Hyundai, continued Oliver Gutt, begin executing the order received from Switzerland: within five years there will be delivered to 1600 fuel cell trucks, in which ecological (and therefore image) reasons to be interested, in particular, a large supermarket chain. However, the Alpine Republic still construct the corresponding filling stations.

Without “green” hydrogen breakthrough will not be

Oliver Gouttes recommended to follow the development of a network of hydrogen filling stations in Europe on the German site h2.live. There is immediately striking: Germany with its nearly 100 stations is the undisputed European leader. Or, in other words: in other countries of the continent the infrastructure for H2 is developed even less.

Also very important question, where does the hydrogen. To produce it from hydrocarbons, e.g. natural gas, from an economic point of view it doesn’t seem very justified, because in this case, the car could directly fill compressed (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG).

From the point of view of ecology and climate protection has meaning only “green” hydrogen produced from seawater by electrolysis using excess wind power and solar power. But wide-scale deployment of experimentally already proven technologies Power to Gas is just beginning. However, the German government is determined to speed up this process.

Speaking with Andreas Scheuer at the conference in Berlin, Minister of economy and energy of Germany Peter Altmaier (Peter Altmaier) said: “We want Germany to become the field of hydrogen technologies the number 1 in the world.” How realistic is this slogan in the automotive field, time will tell. But the world’s first hydrogen-powered trains began carrying passengers in Germany.

Водородные автомобили: энтузиазм в Азии, сомнения в Германии

Водородные автомобили: энтузиазм в Азии, сомнения в Германии

Водородные автомобили: энтузиазм в Азии, сомнения в Германии

Водородные автомобили: энтузиазм в Азии, сомнения в Германии

Водородные автомобили: энтузиазм в Азии, сомнения в Германии

Водородные автомобили: энтузиазм в Азии, сомнения в Германии

Водородные автомобили: энтузиазм в Азии, сомнения в Германии