The second stop for the successor to Hyundai’s ix35 Fuel Cell was neither Detroit nor Tokyo but Offenbach, home to the automaker’s German and European headquarters. In mid-January, seven weeks prior to its official European premiere in Geneva, the Nexo was shown to a select group of journalists in this city by the river Main in the German state of Hesse.
The 14th International Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Expo took place Feb. 28 through March 2 in Tokyo, Japan. According to the organizers, it is the largest hydrogen and fuel cell show in the world. One regular exhibitor over the past several years has been H2BZ-Initiative Hessen, the hydrogen and fuel cell initiative from the German state of Hesse.
Hydrogenious Technologies, based in Erlangen, Germany, has succeeded in bolstering its global partner network over the past months. In mid-January, it said that it had signed a cooperation agreement with a Chinese supplier, Zhongshan Broad Ocean Motor Co., while South African mining corporation Anglo American Platinum, also known as Amplats, had increased its investment in the company.
In December 2017, there were 91 public hydrogen refueling stations operating in Japan, with another 10 in development, putting the country well on its way to its short-term goal of 160 by 2020. The deployment of stations has been one of Japan’s hydrogen success stories, despite daunting costs and a lack of initial demand.
The good news is that fuel cells for materials handling equipment are no longer confined to a niche market. Entire warehouses in North America are currently being served by hydrogen-powered forklift trucks. This type of fuel cell application is also becoming increasingly popular in Asia and Europe, but their logistics industries will have some catching up to do.
Last November, Thomas Melczer and Achim Loecher were appointed CEOs at newly founded FCP – Fuel Cell Powertrain, a joint venture between Melczer’s PTT Power Train Technology based in the German state of Saxony and Dewei Group Holdings from Beijing. They share the role with Professor Thomas von Unwerth, director of the Advanced Powertrains department at Chemnitz University of Technology, which works in close partnership with FCP.
The current standard in all things transportation is China. It makes policy with which even automakers in Germany need to comply if they want to keep their foot in the door. Air pollution in many large Chinese cities is so high that politicians have been forced to take drastic measures. It is the reason why the government is providing massive amounts of subsidies to promote electric transportation, which has led to half of all electric vehicles worldwide being manufactured in China – and driven there as well.
Not only has the second generation of Hyundai’s fuel cell car been unveiled earlier than expected, the price has already been set as well. The first event featuring the Next Gen Fuel Cell was moved up half a year and took place in mid-August in South Korea’s capital Seoul. The car scheduled to hit the market in early 2018 will cost EUR 54,000 (USD 62,712) outside South Korea
A look at this year’s calendar will reveal the absence of three trade shows previously held in Munich, Germany: eCarTec, Materialica and sMove. They’re not gone, but have been integrated into the eMove360° Europe, which takes place from Oct. 17 through 19. Robert Metzger, CEO of Munich Expo, said that the change in program had already paid off. This April, the number of exhibitors had already surpassed last year’s figure
Japan remains fully committed to integrating hydrogen into its national energy mix, and is looking to Europe and to a lesser extent the U.S. for markets and research support. Developers f residential fuel cell systems have all found European partners to bid for FCH-JU funding. And Japan’s Toyota has quietly led an international effort to engage corporations