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TWO SIGNIFICANT MILESTONES PASSED FOR FUEL CELL TRANSPORT AND HYDROGEN IN GERMANY

11th September 2009

Two significant announcements have been made in Germany in recent days, both backed by the signing of formal documents.

A number of leading industrial companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Berlin with the German Minister of Transport, Wolfgang Tiefensee. The agreement will see the evaluation of the establishment of a hydrogen infrastructure in Germany in order to promote serial production of electric fuel-cell vehicles. This marks a major step towards commercialization. The partners of the “H2 Mobility” initiative  are Daimler, EnBW, Linde, OMV, Shell, Total, Vattenfall and the NOW GmbH National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology.  

Phase One of the MoU includes the evaluation of options for a roll-out of hydrogen fuelling stations in Germany and the development of an agreed  joint business plan  which will include an analysis of possible public support measures.  The objective is to leverage plans to install new hydrogen fuelling stations by 2011.

Subject to the satisfactory outcome of this business case agreement, the partners will implement the agreed action plan in Phase Two to roll-out hydrogen fuelling stations nation-wide.  This will support the introduction of series produced hydrogen powered vehicles in Germany around 2015.

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The second announcement was that the leading vehicle manufacturers in fuel cell technology - Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation/Opel, Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Hyundai Motor Company, Kia Motors Corporation, the alliance Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and Toyota Motor Corporation - released a Letter of Understanding (LoU) on the development and market introduction of electric vehicles with fuel cells. 

The signing automobile manufacturers strongly anticipate that from 2015 onwards a significant number of electric vehicles with fuel cell could be commercialised. The objective is for a few hundred thousand units worldwide.  As every vehicle manufacturer will implement its own specific production and commercial strategies as well as timelines, commercialisation of electric vehicles with fuel cells may occur earlier than in the above-mentioned expected year.

The signing marks a major step towards the serial production of fuel-cell vehicles.

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