The energy companies Shell Hydrogen B.V. and Total France, along with the vehicle manufacturers BMW Group, DaimlerChrysler AG, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Europe AG, MAN Nutzfahrzeuge AG and Volkswagen AG announce their joint approach to advance hydrogen as a fuel for road transport in Europe.
Hydrogen and fuel cell technology will bring significant change in the way Europe produces and uses energy. While the public and private sectors already agreed that so-called Lighthouse Projects, integrating all aspects of hydrogen production, distribution and use, are the necessary next step, the group of energy companies and vehicle manufacturers believe that now is the time to move forward. In a common position paper, the companies have defined a near and mid term action plan to pave the way for the introduction of hydrogen-based mobility in Europe.
The companies are together convinced that a joint approach between energy companies and vehicle manufacturers is an excellent means to bridge the gap between the present individual demonstration activities and future commercially available hydrogen vehicles including the corresponding refueling infrastructure.
While each company is pursuing its own specific timelines, the group has commonly identified key phases over the next decade, comprising continuous technology development and cost reduction, pre-commercial technology refinement and market preparation, with commercialisation of hydrogen powered vehicles potentially starting around 2015.
The companies have identified a number of criteria for the implementation of Lighthouse Projects in Europe. A key priority moving forward is to concentrate efforts on a focused region for passenger cars, leveraging all resources in order to maximize learnings. Based on these requirements, the group sees these Lighthouse Projects initially rolling out in Berlin for cars and city buses, and in additional selected cities and regions for city buses.
All lessons learned will be shared across all regions, as will continuing education and outreach.
Implementing next steps requires contributions from all public and private stakeholders involved in hydrogen and fuel cell technology.
Therefore, the group is happy to welcome the engagement and contribution of additional companies as this initiative moves forward.