A fill at €75? It is possible, but with a hydrogen car

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[EN VIDÉO] Hydrogen car: a hybrid service station tested in Switzerland
Like other nations, Switzerland is preparing for the mass arrival of electric and hydrogen vehicles, for which it will be necessary to develop a power distribution network. It is with this in mind that the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne has undertaken to test a service station concept capable of recharging cars with electricity or hydrogen produced on site and without carbon dioxide emissions.

At the pump, prices soar. At dealerships, buyers of cars new ones are becoming increasingly rare. Enrollment has been dropping for over a year. Around 170,000 as of June 2022, compared to nearly 200,000 as of June 2021. That’s nearly 15% less. Only eletric cars take out of the game.

The inscriptions of hydrogen cars, as for them, still remain confidential in France. Will the restocking price increase sales? “Today we can offer a full tank for 75 euros”, guarantees Camille-Léa Passerin, HYSETCO’s director of development. The French start-up is neither more nor less than one of the European mobility leaders hydrogen. A full tank at 75 euros would almost make you dream. But actually, a tank full of hydrogen, what does it correspond to? “A taxi consumes about 1.2 kilogram of hydrogen per 100 kilometers. With a tank of 5 to 6 kilos, this gives you a real range of around 500 kilometers.”says Camille-Léa Passerin.

But why is HYSETCO’s director of development telling us about taxis? Because that’s the example she knows best. The start-up, by the way, developed a kind of turnkey service for taxi drivers. Hydrogen distribution stations, on the one hand, and a fleet of vehicles that it maintains and leases to professional customers, on the other. “Hydrogen responds particularly well to intensive needs. Those of professionals looking for good autonomy and who can’t wait half an hour to charge the battery. » The experience at the hydrogen bomb is in fact the same as at the gas pump. “Refueling takes just 5 minutes. »

Costs still to come down

To really convince, however, the network of charging stations should also suffice. “The first taxi drivers to choose hydrogen did so because they found a station on the way”, explains Camille-Léa Passerin. Today, HYSETCO operates four stations in the Paris region. Approximately 7 tons of hydrogen delivered each month to around 200 taxis. The ambition: to expand the network to twelve stations by 2024. Twelve stations and several thousand vehicles.

“For now, the range is more than limited”, says HYSETCO’s Director of Development. Only two vehicles are available for sale, a sedan (Toyota Mirai) and a SUV (Hyundai Nexo). “But others are positioning themselves in the hydrogen utilities niche in particular. Because, here too, hydrogen has a real role to play. Compared to electric, it not only allows you to maintain a good autonomy, but also not lose payload. » Because a hydrogen tank, even full, doesn’t weigh as much as the battery needed for an electric vehicle.

For the individual, however, Camille-Léa Passerin agrees, “The battery-powered electric car remains an alternative today”zero emissions“more affordable than hydrogen”. It will remain so at least as long as the supply of vehicles and the network of hydrogen charging stations are not sufficient. And while the still very limited industrialization of the sector does not allow to lower the costs of acquiring a hydrogen vehicle. “For now, the sector still needs to be subsidized. But with regulations that increasingly require finding alternatives to heat engineswill industrialize and costs will fallexplains the development director of HYSETCO. The Toyota Mirai 2, on the other hand, costs almost 15% less than the Toyota Mirai 1”.

The price of hydrogen at the bomb is, however, quite… artificial. “Because we are subsidized. Because we still can’t sell the hydrogen we’d like to distribute [ndlr : un hydrogène plus vert dont il sera question dans un prochain sujet]recognizes Camille-Léa Passerin. We offer a full tank at 75 euros, which corresponds to around 15 euros per kilogram of hydrogen (€/kg). But the objective set by the Agency for the environment and the control ofenergy (ademe) is around €9/kg”. Or, finally, a full tank that could be done in the long run, for just… 45 euros!

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