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Germany Launches H2 Mobility Initiative to Expand Infrastructure for Refueling Hydrogen Vehicles

Daimler AG and leading energy companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Berlin, with the participation of the German Minister of Transport, Wolfgang Tiefensee, to evaluate and expand the setup of a hydrogen infrastructure in Germany to support the series production of fuel cell electric vehicles. In addition to Daimler, partners in the “H2 Mobility” initiative include EnBW, Linde, OMV, Shell, Total, Vattenfall and the NOW GmbH (National Organization Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology). The project is open for other interested partners.

The H2 Mobility launch comes one day after leading automakers signed a Letter of Understanding regarding the commercialization and series production of fuel cell electric vehicles from 2015 onward. Noting the importance of a hydrogen infrastructure with sufficient density, the automakers—Daimler, Ford, GM/Opel, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Renault Nissan Alliance, and Toyota—in that LoU strongly supported building up a hydrogen infrastructure in Europe, with Germany as regional starting point, among other global starting points. (Earlier post.)

The H2 Mobility partners noted that significant progress has been made in Germany in recent years with the development of hydrogen based technologies in the mobility sector, marking the country as a potential start-market in the context of a broader European perspective. The MoU comprises two phases.

  • Phase One includes the evaluation of options for an area-wide roll-out of hydrogen fuelling stations in Germany and the definition of a joint business plan agreement including an analysis of possible public support measures. In Phase One partners intend to leverage plans to install new hydrogen fuelling stations by 2011. This will take place within the framework of the German economic stimulus package (Konjunkturpaket II) and other national and state programs to jointly address standardization and cost reduction issues.

  • Subject to the positive and satisfactory outcome of such a business case agreement the partners will implement the corresponding action plan in Phase Two. The nation-wide roll-out of hydrogen fuelling stations will be continued, supporting the introduction of series produced hydrogen powered vehicles in Germany around 2015.

The German government is also developing a plan to provide financial incentives starting in 2012 to support the production and sale of 100,000 electric cars annually. The plan envisages around one million electric cars on German roads by 2020. (Earlier post.)

Today, after more than 100 years of combustion engines and the dominance of oil, we are facing a new technological era in the transport sector. Germany, with its excellent ideas from all over the country, is to become the market leader for modern drive technologies. This will secure and create new employment in the markets of the future. Our aim is to continue consistent and systematic promotion of electromobility based on batteries and fuel cells. Today we can see that Germany is setting the pace when it comes to hydrogen and fuel cell technology. We are aiming at establishing the nation-wide supply with hydrogen in Germany at around 2015 in order to support the serial-production of fuel cell vehicles.

—Wolfgang Tiefensee, Minister for Transportation, Building and Urban Affairs

Regardless of whether vehicles are refuelled with hydrogen or electricity, it remains a fact that these innovative drive technologies will only be sustainable with a reliable infrastructure and only with CO2-free electricity for hydrogen production or for recharging batteries. EnBW will support both technologies—with its technological know-how in the power generation field and its large proportion of CO2-free electricity.

—Hans-Peter Villis, CEO EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG

Germany already has a leading position regarding the hydrogen infrastructure in Europe, with initial hydrogen centers having been established in urban agglomerations such as Berlin and Hamburg. Seven of the current thirty hydrogen fueling stations in Germany are integrated into public gas stations. Already five to ten hydrogen fuelling stations can secure a first supply in a major city. The partnership envisions connecting those urban agglomerations with supply corridors on main arteries to establish the essential prerequisites for nationwide development.

A fleet of 40 hydrogen vehicles is part of the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP) in Berlin and Hamburg. The CEP is aiming to demonstrate the suitability for daily use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel for vehicles and to test the infrastructure of hydrogen fuelling stations.

Since 1994, Daimler has invested more than €1 billion (US$1.5 billion) in the development of fuel cells. With more than 100 test vehicles and more than 4.5 million kilometers of test runs in total, Daimler has one of the largest fuel-cell vehicle fleets of passenger cars and buses worldwide. Daimler begins small series production of the B-Class F-CELL at the end of 2009. (Earlier post.) It will also present the first prototype of the new generation of fuel-cell buses this year.


Henry Gibson

Just buy TH!NK cars with smaller ZEBRA batteries and a tiny range extender generator. Hydrogen is, was and will be too expensive a fuel to use directly. Combine it with recycled CO2 to make methanol. ..HG..


A better name for this is Hindenburg part Zwei.

Roger Pham

A better way to look at this is recurrent German leadership in automotive tech. Remember how Nicolas Otto and Rudolf Diesel lead the automotive world over 100 years ago?


Does MB etc want a dozen BYD EV auto firms replacing them? Battery EV's are low entry cost and open competition. Fuel cells(FC) are high entry costs and they(MB, GM, etc) already own the FC patents!

As GM demonstrated by crushing the EV1/CARB laws and Chevron demonstrated by shelving their high format NiMH EV batteries and patents - the public be DA**** if there's a better, cheaper vehicle alternative.


Mercedes FC buses have been operating for some time now in selected cities around the world with excellent safety records.

Had a 747 Airliner crashed at the time of the Hindenburg we might have abandoned jet travel. Maybe life is cheaper today than in the 1930s.

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