Zero-emissions hydrogen-powered transportation is now a reality in France’s Rhône-Alpes region, home to 80% of the country’s hydrogen-energy industry. Under the HyWay program, initiated in October 2014, an initial test fleet of 21 Renault Kangoo ZE-H2 hybrid electric-hydrogen utility vehicles and three hydrogen filling stations have been rolled out in the cities of Grenoble and Lyon.
The HyWay program, coordinated by the Tenerrdis energy cluster, reached yet another milestone with the delivery of an initial fleet of 21 hybrid electric-hydrogen vehicles—the largest currently on the road in Europe—to Grenoble. Test users will be able to fill up on hydrogen at the Air Liquide filling station in Sassenage (near Grenoble) and at the Symbio FCell and French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) campuses in Grenoble. Another, larger-capacity hydrogen filling station is slated to open, also in Grenoble, at the GEG (the local gas and electric utility) campus. Ultimately, the station will be supplied by a green hydrogen production unit operated by Cofely Services and equipped with McPhy Energy electrolyzers.
The Renault Kangoo ZE-H2 hybrid electric-hydrogen utility vehicles are equipped with Symbio FCell hydrogen fuel-cell range extenders that leverage a technology developed by the CEA. The vehicles offer a range of up to 300 km per day in intensive city driving conditions. The vehicles, adorned with the logos and graphics of their test users, were unveiled at Grenoble-area Renault dealership Auto-Losange of Fontaine on June 10, 2015.
Hydrogen, the key to sustainable mobility
The HyWay program is banking on a uniquely innovative concept—a captive-fleet test rollout—to promote France’s expertise in hydrogen-powered mobility at a time when many countries are multiplying hydrogen-energy-related technology projects. France stands out as home to global industry leaders in this emerging field. France is also home to the Mobilité Hydrogène France consortium, the industry association that published on October 3, 2014 the results of its market research on the potential for hydrogen and fuel-cells in France’s transportation sector. HyWay represents one of the first building blocks of a nationwide hydrogen-powered-mobility network, an objective encouraged by the consortium’s report.
Program backed by leading institutions
The French government firmly supports the HyWay program, providing financing through DREAL and ADEME, its environment, housing, and development and energy agencies, respectively. The Rhône-Alpes regional government is on board, and the program has also received EU funding.
Test users get fully-operational sustainable transportation
The businesses, government agencies, and other organizations participating in this innovative program are pioneers in the future large-scale adoption of hydrogen-powered vehicles. The program also represents a response to real-world problems shared by all of the test users—electric-vehicle range, uptime, and predictability in highly-demanding city driving environments.
The Isère-based test users are:
Air Liquide, CEA, CETUP, Cofely Services, Colas, Crédit Agricole Sud Rhône Alpes, Département de l’Isère, Eolya, Grenoble-Alpes Métropole, Groupe Vicat, La Poste, Qualit’Express, Schneider Electric, SERFIM Eau FILEPPI, SIERG, Tronico