In the 1960s and 1970s, France’s industry and research departments used to be very proactive in fuel cell development. Then, 1974 came to pass and with it the slogan of “all-electric, all-nuclear” (tout-éléctrique, tout-nucléaire). The number of fuel cell projects fell drastically and remained at its low level until about the end of the 1990s. In the meantime, a great many subsidies have gone into nuclear industry developments: Billions were and are being spent through CEA (Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique) in this field.
The HyPulsion joint venture has now been owned in full by Plug Power since August 2015. As announced by the American (USA) company on July 27th 2015, it has acquired all of the shares in its former partner Axane, a subsidiary of the gases company Air Liquide. The New York-based manufacturer of fuel cells paid US-$ 11.5 m. for 80 % of the shares. In 2012, Plug Power and Axane joined forces to form HyPulsion, primarily with the goal of kick-starting the market for fuel cell forklift trucks. Andy Marsh, managing director of Plug Power, made the following comments: “We are now moving ahead with optimism to extend our presence in the European materials handling market. […] I am pleased that our collaboration with Air Liquide for the further development of the hydrogen sector in Europe is continuing.”