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Symbio’s 150 hydrogen-electric commercial vehicles have traveled 220,000 miles

Symbio, the French producer of hydrogen fuel cell systems for transportation, reports that it has delivered 150 commercial hydrogen-electric vehicles which have now travelled a combined 220,000 miles (350,000 km). The company will be showcasing its solutions at CES 2017 next week.


The Kangoo ZE-H2 is based on the Renault Kangoo ZE Maxi. It combined a 22 kWh Li-ion battery pack with a 5 kW hydrogen fuel cell range extender, fueled with 1.7 kg of H2 at 350 bar or 2.08 kg H2 at 700 bar. Range is 300 km (186 miles).

Symbio’s core mission is to engineer complete fuel cell systems for electric vehicles, from prototyping to product. Symbio offers an end-to-end hydrogen fuel cell system compatible to different usage-cycles and types of vehicle (commercial vehicles, van, bus, trucks and boats) and from 5 kW to 300 kW.

The company, which counts ENGIE and Michelin among its investors, said it will unveil a new H2 vehicle with 500 km (311 miles) of range in March 2017 in Tokyo.



What happened to:

'European fuel cell system provider Symbio FCell says it will deliver more than 1,000 Kangoo ZE-H2 vehicles in 2016. The Kangoo ZE-H2 is a Renault Kangoo ZE Light commercial vehicle (LCV) powered by a hydrogen Fuel Cell Range-Extender. (Earlier post.) The company says it has supplied more than 50 units to date, with 200 expected for the full year.'


I dislike press releases which don't mention missed targets as well as achievements, no matter who does it about what technology.


TESLA did and is still doing the same!!!

FC/PHEVs with a mix of small (5 to 50 KW) FCs and 20 KW to 50 KW batteries could become the best of both worlds.

People with more $$$ could select larger battery packs and smaller FCs. All combinations could be GHG neutral.

Brian P

350,000 km divided by 150 vehicles is just over 2000 km each.

I am underwhelmed.


It might go 300 km or 186 mi (EPA rating would probably be only a more realistic 225 km or 140 mi) on a single fill up of hydrogen and a fully charged battery but with only 5 KW of fuel cell power it would not go the distance on the highway as the power usage at any reasonable speed is more than 5 KW so once the battery is drained, you would need to wait until the fuel cell recharges it. It probably works as a urban delivery vehicle where it is stopped most of the time.



These are delivery vehicles, so spend 8-9 hours on the road.

As the fuel cell is zero emission at point of use, it can be left to run including during lunch breaks.

So the 5KW fuel cell is going to provide around 40 KWH or so of extra energy, far more than can be done with more batteries at a reasonable weight penalty.

There are larger versions of the fuel cell also available, including ones for bigger vehicles.

If more range is needed, then if the vehicle is on a regular route a hydrogen pump can be provided at a convenient point, which can top up the hydrogen in 5 minutes as opposed to the more substantial wait to charge a battery, and delivery vehicles can't afford to hang around to charge.


We will soon have a combined (ultra quick charge + H2 station) within a reasonable distance from our place.

Looking forward for a decent affordable PHEV or PHEV/FC to complement and/or replace an HEV in 2018/2020?


I applaud the technical achievement, but in an era of 135kW charging, eventually to be 350kW apparently, adding 40kW to the duty cycle is the equivalent of 20 or 7 min charge respectively. Unless that fuel cell and storage system can be delivered for less than $6k, it's not going to be price competitive and that's a tough sell. Especially considering the extra complexity and expense of maintenance of 5kW FC vs an extra 40kW of battery.

That's before the need to consider the additional expense of the refueling network.

A deliveryman is going to take a 30 minute meal break mid-route, union or not. People need fuel too.


FC/PHEVs give you three advantages:

1) extended range in all weather over BEVs
2) much quicker refills (4 minutes instead of 30 minutes)
3) free passenger cabin heating.

The cost of small FCs is already as low as a diesel ICE and lower than equivalent battery pack.


Harvey, do you have any sources for the cost of FCs being lower than 40kWh battery pack?

All of the advantages you cite can also be provided by REx engines like Volt and BMW i3 have, which could be fueled by current levels of production of ethanol or other biofuels.

Also, you've left out the cost of hydrogen infrastructure in your cost comparison. Hundreds of billions, at least.

Roger Pham

It only takes about 1,000 H2 stations for the entire USA to ensure a median driving distance of 4 miles from home to the nearest H2 station in urban and suburban areas. At the latest cost of $1 Million per station as mass-produced by Nel Hydrogen in factory, the price tag of the initial H2 station network will be only $1 Billion. If each of the 5 automakers who are making FCV's or planning to make FCV's would share this cost, each will only have to fork out $200 Million.

There is no need to have 120,000 H2 stations in the USA to make FCV practical for urban and suburban dwellers. Only 1,000 initial H2 stations costing $1 Billion would suffice.


e.c.i.c: You may be exaggerating the requirements & cost of H2 stations by 1000 and more to justify all weather extended range BEVs with very costly 200+ kWh battery packs?

Germany will have a basic early H2 station network in operation by mid 2018 or so.

California and many other States/countries will not be far behind?

Mass produced future FC will be much lighter, cheaper and last longer. Batteries will try to follow/compete but may not keep up after 2020 or so.


When FCVs compete on price and have a large and dense refueling network, I'll be interested. Until then, PHEVs and RExs provide an ideal solution - today.


PHEVs (with ICE or FC range extenders) are currently the most suited solutions for all weather extended range usage.

FCs as range extenders will operate much cleaner, specially where clean e-energy is available, otherwise, ICE range extenders will have to do.


In a perfect world, yes, we would have zero-emission range extenders. Unfortunately, in the real, imperfect world that we live, no one is manufacturing zero emission range extenders.

Reducing fossil fuel consumption for passenger vehicles 80-90% is no small feat. Yes, that's only an interim measure. But it's an interim measure that could be used for 100% of cars sold today, at a very small cost considering the alternatives.

Let's do something real, right now.


Pure ICEVs, HEVs and PHEVs with ICE range extenders may have to be banned or taxed heavily with much higher progressive fuel and registration taxes to compensate for all damages they do?

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