Fuel cell buses have many advantages over their diesel counterparts, making them an attractive option for mass transit companies. A few examples are the complete absence of local emissions, the greater flexibility in choosing a primary energy carrier and, depending on the source of the hydrogen and the use of renewables, considerable potential for reducing carbon dioxide levels.
In late March, Dieter Zetsche’s words on electric transportation and the future of fuel cells caused quite a stir in the automotive industry. During the auto motor und sport conference on March 27 in Stuttgart, the head of Daimler was asked about what type of electric transportation his company would favor over the coming years. Instead of the short reply one would expect, he went on to give a long answer to the question and it seemed to have given rise to wildly different interpretations.
Have you ever driven a fuel cell car? And have you ever filled up the tank of one at a hydrogen station? If so, you probably have made the same experience as I have: No fuel without a fuel card by the Clean Energy Partnership. Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to test-drive a Toyota Mirai (see next H2-international issue) – and try out refueling too. Driving the car was a great experience; the technology has matured enough. But the question I ultimately had was how the issue of hydrogen refueling would be solved in the foreseeable future.