Just a Reminder – Look at 2002

Honda clarity
The Clarity, © Honda

During my research for the article on the second generation of Honda‘s fuel cell vehicle, the Clarity Fuel Cell (see Honda Hands Over Keys for First Clarity Fuel Cell), I suddenly remembered days long past. More specifically, I recalled news pieces that I had written or read many years ago. I did a bit of a search and found the following lines, which I would like to share with you:

“One must recognize the distinct accomplishment of the second-biggest Japanese carmaker, Honda, which – like archrival Toyota – succeeded before all automotive manufacturers in the Western world to supply customers with fuel cell cars.

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Honda Hands Over Keys for First Clarity Fuel Cell

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Further improvement in energy density, © Honda

Life’s hard on Honda: The Japanese carmaker has always been overshadowed by its biggest rival Toyota. Whereas Toyota is expanding its lead thanks to VW‘s diesel emissions scandal, Honda’s efforts to shine in the spotlight, at least by promoting forward-looking technologies, have been met with only a lukewarm press reception. The latest example of that was the corporation’s unveiling of its second generation of Clarity fuel cell cars in the fall of 2015. The presentation attracted much less attention than when Toyota showcased the first generation of its Mirai.

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There Is No Stopping Plug Power

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Plug Power has been partnering with HyGear since June 2016, © Plug Power

If the number of order bookings is anything to go by, then Plug Power is not only doing very well, but the company will be able to easily achieve or even exceed its ambitious goals: New orders worth USD 72 million in the first quarter increased backlog to an impressive USD 278 million. The new booking target figure this year is USD 275 million. The revenue target is USD 150 million – after USD 100 million last year.

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Ballard Sets Its Sights on China

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Minister Wan Gang in Berlin

One should never be too enthusiastic, but if the Chinese government really takes up the battle against the country’s dramatic pollution levels, fuel cells and hydrogen will become top priorities – domestically and globally. People will take note of the comments that Wan Gang, China’s minister of science and technology, made during this year’s industry conference H2Mobility in Berlin in early April. Gang – an engineer, who had a ten-year stint at Audi – considers the fuel cell‘s versatility and “green hydrogen” to be two key solutions for improving China’s environmental situation

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Tesla Raises New Capital

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Elon Musk, © Tesla

Tesla CEO Elon Musk was as eloquent as ever when he raised the targets for the company’s electric car models: Instead of producing 500,000 electric cars (total figure, all models – i.e., Model S, Model X and Model 3) in 2020, the company should already achieve that number in 2018 and increase it to one million in 2020. One can question whether these targets will become reality, as they require even more large infusions of cash, making additional capital increases inevitable. And this although Tesla has just recently sought more money

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eZelleron Moves to USA

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Sascha Kühn

While some talk about the bankruptcy of start-up eZelleron from Dresden, Germany, others only say that the headquarters were relocated to the US. How much truth is to these rumors? First, what is certain is that the delivery of fuel cell device kraftwerk will be late, as bankruptcy proceedings for eZelleron GmbH began on April 18, 2016, at the local court in Dresden.

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Bart Biebuyck is New FCH JU Head

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P. Vannson und B. Biebuyck (r.), © FCH JU

In May 2016, the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH2 JU) got a new executive director. In the middle of that month, Bart Biebuyck took over the task from Bert de Colvenaer, who left in December 2015 – after which Philippe Vannson, the head of the Advanced Energy Systems unit of the European Commission, filled in the role temporarily. Biebuyck used to be Technical Senior Manager at the Fuel Cell Department of Toyota Motor Europe

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EU Adopts PACE

The EU has decided to continue subsidizing fuel cell heating systems. The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) announced that on June 1, 2016, the European Union launched the PACE project (Pathway to a Competitive European FC mCHP market) with incentives worth EUR 34 million. Its aim is to have more than 2,650 micro-CHP systems installed at non-field test customers by February 2021 to support market ramp-up. At the same time, a monitoring project should provide the feedback needed to enhance any further developments.

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Germany Prepares for Technology Rollout Program

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Markus Staudt

There’s movement in the heating segment: Besides new entries trying to find their place on the market, efforts are well underway to ramp up the installation numbers of fuel cell heating systems in 2017. At present, however, the Technology Rollout Program (TEP) is still waiting for Brussels’ approval. To be prepared for the day the program comes into force, the Fuel Cell Initiative (IBZ) has reshuffled personnel and responsibilities.

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Hanover Trade Show: Big H2 Industry Investments

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Maroš Šefčovič, EU Commission Vice-President (left)

Tobias Renz was able to celebrate a bit of a record this year: With overall 160 exhibitors from 25 countries, there have never been so many booths on the joint space of Hydrogen + Fuel Cells + Batteries organized by him. One of the reasons for this success may have been the many participants from the US, which alone had sent 21 industry representatives to the German trade show. America was this year’s partner country of the world’s biggest industrial exhibition.

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