A top-up for €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 massive arrival of electric and hydrogen vehicles, for which it will be necessary to develop an energy distribution network. It is in this perspective that the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne has undertaken to test a gas station concept capable of recharging cars with electricity or hydrogen produced on site and without carbon dioxide emissions.

At the pump, prices are skyrocketing. You dealers buyers of cars new ones are becoming increasingly rare. Enrollments have been declining for more than a year. About 170,000 in June 2022 compared to almost 200,000 in June 2021. That’s almost 15% less. The customer electric cars withdraw from the game.

The registrations of hydrogen carsAs for them, they still remain confidential in France. Will the price of refueling increase sales? “Today we are able to offer a full tank for 75 euros”, assures us Camille-Léa Passerin, development director of HYSETCO. The French start-up is neither more nor less than one of the European mobility leaders hydrogen. A full tank for 75 euros would almost make you dream. But actually a full tank of hydrogen, what does that equate to? “A taxi uses about 1.2 kilograms hydrogen per 100 kilometers. With a tank of 5 to 6 kilos, it gives a real range of around 500 kilometers”says Camille-Léa Passerin.

But why is the development director of HYSETCO talking to us about taxis? Because that is the example she knows best. The start-up has 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 rents out to professional customers on the other. “Hydrogen responds particularly well to intensive needs. Those of professionals who are looking for a good autonomy and who cannot afford to wait half an hour for their battery to be charged. » The experience at the hydrogen pump is actually much the same as at the petrol pump. “Fueling only takes 5 minutes. »

Costs still need to come down

To really convince, however, the network of charging stations must also be sufficient. “The first taxi drivers who chose hydrogen did so because they found a station on their way”, explains Camille-Léa Passerin. Today, HYSETCO operates four stations in the Paris region. About 7 tons of hydrogen delivered every month to about 200 taxis. The ambition: to expand the network to twelve stations by 2024. Twelve stations and several thousand vehicles.

“Currently the range is more than limited”, says HYSETCO’s development director. Only two vehicles are available for sale, a sedan (Toyota Mirai) and a SUV (Hyundai Nexo). “But others are positioning themselves especially in the hydrogen supply niche. 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 to lose payload. » Because a hydrogen tank, even full, does not weigh as much as the battery needed for an electric vehicle.

For the individual, however, Camille-Léa Passerin agrees, “The battery-powered electric car is still an alternative today”zero emissions“more accessible than hydrogen”. It will remain so at least as long as the supply of vehicles and the network of hydrogen charging stations will not be sufficient. And as long as the still too limited industrialization of the sector does not make it possible to lower the costs of acquiring a hydrogen car. “So far, the sector still needs to be supported. But with the rules, which increasingly require that alternatives be found heat enginesit will be industrialized and costs will fallexplains the development director of HYSETCO. Even now, the Toyota Mirai 2 costs almost 15% less than the Toyota Mirai 1”.

The price of hydrogen at the pump, meanwhile, is pretty… artificial. “Because we are subsidized. Because we cannot yet sell the hydrogen that we would 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 for 75 euros, which corresponds to about 15 euros per kg of hydrogen (€/kg). But the objective set by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency and the control withenergy (Breathe) is around €9/kg”. Or finally a full tank that could be managed in the long term, for only… 45 euros!

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