Demonstration of Small 4-Wheel fuel cell passenger vehicle Applications in Regional and Municipal transport
This project will establish a large demonstration fleet of close to 100 small passenger vehicles also expanding existing hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. Three regions participate in this effort: the British Midlands, the Brussels area and Wallonia, and the Weser-Ems region in NorthWest Germany. Each of these regions will deploy a new hydrogen refuelling site to close the gaps in a continuous ‘hydrogen highway’ that leads from Scotland via the Midlands to London, Brussels, Cologne and Hamburg/Scandinavia/Berlin via Bremen.
Achievements to date
Project started recently and is currently performing the planning and preparatory phase.
The project endeavours to offer lighter, more fuel efficient vehicle solutions for city and regional transport at lower cost than generally envisaged in the first commercialisation phase from 2015 which many OEM’s are targeting. The exposure of a high number of users (min. 90) to fuel cell technology and hydrogen refuelling will offer a broad basis for bringing the technology to the real world and on the other hand gather hands-on experience with public acceptance. The new hydrogen filling stations will add crucial infrastructure in relevant locations, namely the Brussels and Bremen sites.
The vehicles employed are low-cost, high fuel-efficiency, hybrid, light-weight passenger cars specifically designed for city and regional transport. These vehicles provide a complementary pathway to commercialisation to the large OEM, by allowing near-term rollout on a commercial basis to a wide range of users – in parallel with the planned rollouts for OEM vehicles from 2015. The regions where these vehicles will be deployed will receive the infrastructure, public exposure and technological understanding to act as seed locations for future larger scale vehicle rollout.
In view of the lower vehicle costs, this project will deploy an unprecedented number of road vehicles for a demonstration project, with three SME’s contributing 30, 10 and 50 vehicles respectively to the project. These will be put in the hands of real users in a variety of real-life operating environments. An extensive data monitoring exercise will run throughout the 3 year demonstration phase, allowing the reliability of the vehicles driven by different users to be evaluated, leading to direct improvements of future, fully commercial vehicle designs.
The three regions will deploy several hydrogen refuelling stations, adding a total of 3 new stations to the existing supply sites, creating some of the first regional hydrogen refuelling clusters in Europe. Each region will, as a consequence of a high-standard filling station with high capacity (200 kg/day) and high performance (70 MPa) refuelling technology, supported by existing smaller stations of lower capacity and pressure (depending on region).
The project will be a near-commercial stepping stone and will include a reach-out activity timed to coincide with OEM’s commercialisation plans in the 2013-2015 period, to attract further vehicles to the extensive regional refuelling infrastructure clusters - by offering cost effective and readily available focal points for additional hydrogen fleets developing around these regions. Therefore we are supplementing the SWARM fleet and infrastructure by more vehicles and hydrogen filling stations supplied through other projects and separate funding.