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Renault Group and Plug Power launch HYVIA joint venture; ecosystem of fuel cell LCVs, green hydrogen & refueling stations

Renault Group and Plug Power launched their joint venture HYVIA, as outlined in the memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreement signed in January. (Earlier post.) The joint venture is equally owned by the two partners and is chaired by David Holderbach, with more than 20 years of experience in strategic, product and international sales at the Renault Group.

The name HYVIA is a contraction of “HY” for hydrogen and the Latin word “VIA” for road, embodying the ambition to open a new path towards low-carbon mobility. Commercial vehicles such as LCVs require greater range and shorter refueling time, operational demands where hydrogen fuel cells can offer an attractive solution.

HYVIA’s activities will be carried out at existing Renault facilities in France:

  1. The head office of the joint venture as well as the R&D teams will be located at Villiers-Saint-Frédéric, with the light commercial vehicle engineering and development center for Renault Group, to maximize synergy across teams.

  2. The process, manufacturing and logistics teams will be based in Flins, as part of the Re-Factory project, and plan to begin the assembly of fuel cells and recharging stations by end of 2021.

  3. The first vehicles, based on Renault Master, will be assembled at the Batilly plant.

  4. The fuel cell integration will be carried out by PVI, a subsidiary of Renault Group since 2017, located in Gretz-Armainvilliers.

The HYVIA integrated hydrogen technology complements Renault’s E-TECH technology, increasing vehicle range to 500 km (311 miles) with a rapid recharging time of 3 minutes. These advantages are particularly well-suited to certain uses of light commercial vehicles while simultaneously addressing the regulatory challenges of decarbonizing city centers.

The first three fuel cell vehicles brought to market by HYVIA will be based on the Renault Master platform and should be available in Europe by end of 2021 and accompanied with the deployment of charging stations and the supply of green hydrogen:

  • Transport of goods: Van version and Chassis cab version for large volumes.

  • Transport of people: City bus version.

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