The main group of customers currently driving demand for electric as well as hydrogen vehicles isn’t consumers but fleet operators. One prominent example is BeeZero, a Linde subsidiary. In April 2016, it became the first carpooling service in Germany to add 50 Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles to its task force in Munich.
Since last September, BeeZero has been receiving competition from a rival that is going in a different direction. With financial support from NOW, a start-up called CleverShuttle, partly owned by Deutsche Bahn and Daimler, bought fuel cells for its rideshare service. It offers exclusively electric and plug-in hybrids in several German cities, such as Berlin, Dresden, Frankfurt am Main, Leipzig and Stuttgart.
CleverShuttle’s fleet in Hamburg is made up of only hydrogen-powered vehicles, 20 Mirai cars to be exact. According to Frank Horch, the city’s senator in charge of economic, transportation and innovation policy, “These eco-friendly fuel cell vehicles not only provide a viable and efficient means of transportation, they also cut down on the amount of harmful emissions. It’s the reason why we, the city of Hamburg, have supported the project with around EUR 200,000.”
In Munich, the business purchased 15 Mirai cars, whose keys changed hands when the hydrogen station by mineral oil company Allguth was opened on Kreillerstraße in October 2017.