On October 9th in Copenhagen, four of Asia’s leading automakers—Honda (News - Alert), Hyundai, Nissan, and Toyota—signed a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) with organizations from Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark on market introduction of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and hydrogen refueling infrastructure. The rollout is expected to taking place from 2014 through 2017.
Car manufacturers and infrastructure companies have invested significantly in the development of FCEVs, and hydrogen production and refueling technologies and standards, in the past decade, particularly in northwest Europe.
In addition, national network organizations within Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark have actively worked for the establishment and planning of hydrogen refueling stations since 2006, under the Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership(SHHP). The infrastructure companies HYOP AS (Norway), H2 Logic A/S (Denmark) and others have invested significantly since 2006 in the opening of several hydrogen refueling stations within those nations and are actively preparing plans for countrywide networks beyond 2015.
The SHHP vision is to make the Scandinavian region one of the first in Europe where hydrogen is commercially available and used in refueling stations, with 15 stations and 30 satellite stations available to FCEV owners by 2015. In addition, the SCHHP goal is to have a large fleet of vehicles—including 100 buses, 500 cars, and 500 specialty vehicles—on the streets by that time.
According to the SHHP, “Toward 2015, important steps and decisions have to be taken to ensure a successful market introduction. In particular the engagement of private stakeholders such as national energy companies and investors is key to realize the hydrogen infrastructure roll-out. Governments in turn should provide stable long term market conditions and mechanisms to foster a coordinated roll-out. The Nordic MoU will catalyze a dialogue among the central stakeholders on these topics.”
The MoU partners will, therefore, specifically endeavor to cooperate on:
- Joint pursuit of introduction of FCEVs and establishment of hydrogen infrastructure in the Nordic countries starting around year 2014 to 2017;
- Advocating for establishment of necessary public financing and support mechanisms for the FCEVs and the hydrogen infrastructure;
- Engagement of key national dealerships of the car manufacturers;
- Engagement of key national energy and infrastructure companies; and
- A market launch of the FCEVs in 2015 or later, provided that sufficient infrastructure has been introduced.
- The MoU was signed in the presence of the Danish Minister for Transport and the Director of the International Energy Agency, directorate of Sustainable Energy Policy and Technology, at the 3GF conference in Copenhagen.
At the signing ceremony, Soichiro Okudaira, managing officer Toyota Motor Corporation, stated, “The Nordic countries are already recognized as world leaders in advanced renewable green energy, such as hydroelectricity and wind energy. I am pleased that Toyota has the opportunity to participate in this collaboration seeking to advance hydrogen fuel cell technology— something we see as a vital part for the future of automobiles. As an automotive manufacturer, we not only aim to develop ever-better products to meet the needs of our customers, our dedication to eco-mobility also stems from our company’s fundamental principles to contribute positively to society.”
Tim Dunn, head of Advanced Engineering at Nissan Technical Centre Europe, commented, “The objective of this MoU is to bring together the public bodies and private companies that can make hydrogen-fuelled electric vehicles, and the infrastructure they need, a reality on our roads from 2014-17. The potential for hydrogen production from the vast renewable energy sources that exist in Scandinavia as well as the support shown by the governments of Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland make the region an obvious place to draw up such a partnership. Nissan looks forward to working with the partners of this MoU to build an ecosystem that will allow Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles to thrive in these countries.”
Mikael Sloth, Chairman Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership said, “For the Nordic organizations, the MoU is an important step toward ensuring our region as one among the first where hydrogen for transport is introduced to the market. This is important for meeting the Nordic long-term targets for sustainable transport. Also it can help create a strong and early home market for Nordic businesses and companies within hydrogen and fuel cell technology.”
Edited by Brooke Neuman