Bertrand Piccard launches hydrogen-electric mobility in Switzerland

  • World’s first AVIA hydrogen filling station opens in St. Gallen
  • Six hydrogen filling stations to cover the route between Lake Constance and Lake Geneva by the end of 2020
  • Mass production of green hydrogen made in Switzerland using 100% renewable energy
  • First 50 hydrogen-electric commercial vehicles to be on the road in Switzerland by the end of 2020
  • Globally unique eco-mobility system is the result of a collaboration between 21 leading Swiss companies from the transport, logistics and filling station industries, together with the country’s energy sector, leading representatives of the Swiss energy industry, a vehicle manufacturer with global operations and specialised companies in the hydrogen industry.

Today is a great day for hydrogen-electric mobility in Switzerland. Bertrand Piccard launched an ecological revolution on the roads by opening of the world’s first AVIA hydrogen filling station in St. Gallen.

Bertrand Piccard: “Switzerland’s private sector has created something that is truly unique. Many believed that the hydrogen industry would always remain a utopian vision of the future, but Switzerland is proving that electrically powered commercial vehicles and passenger cars can be refuelled with clean hydrogen and driven without CO2 emissions. In addition to the development of an economically viable sector, this also represents a huge step forward for the environment – with advantages for customers that are quite persuasive. Refuelling takes just a few minutes, the drive system is 100% electric, and the performance and range are great. And instead of harmful exhaust fumes coming out the exhaust pipe, only pure water vapour is emitted. This important moment for the environment was made a reality through the combined expertise of many pioneers who didn’t just talk about possible solutions, but got things done.”

After a pilot period of several years, members of the H2 Mobility Switzerland Association and their partners are ramping up the new e-mobility system in the country. This allows for electrically driven cars and commercial vehicles, powered by green hydrogen, with zero CO2 emissions.

This year will see the first 50 Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell hydrogen-electric commercial vehicles, with a total towing weight of 36 t, hit the roads in Switzerland.

With the opening of the world’s first AVIA hydrogen filling station in St. Gallen, Switzerland’s second public filling station is going into operation, following Coop in Hunzenschwil (in operation since 2016). The first six hydrogen filling stations will also be operational on the route between Lake Constance and Lake Geneva by the end of the year, with stations in St. Gallen, Rümlang, Hunzenschwil, Zofingen, Berne and Crissier. They will offer green hydrogen for commercial vehicles (350 bar) and cars (700 bar). As the first filling station to do so, Osterwalder St. Gallen AG is offering green hydrogen with the designation H2 ZERO.

The scheme will be scaled up from 2021 to 2025 to include a total of 1’600 hydrogen-electric commercial vehicles and a widespread network of hydrogen filling stations (until 2023). Alongside this, the number of cars powered by an environmentally friendly hydrogen drive will also increase significantly.

 

Overview of the new Swiss e-mobility system

Hydrospider, Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility (HHM), the H2 Mobility Switzerland Association and H2 ENERGY Ltd are currently building this carbon-free e-mobility system in the alpine nation. This is based on a business ecosystem that unites various players in the energy and mobility sector in a joint, private-sector system. Each element of this cycle, from the energy source and production to the use in the electric vehicle, is completely free of CO2 emissions.

The closed cycle begins with the production of green hydrogen by Hydrospider AG. The production takes place at a new facility at Alpiq’s Gösgen hydroelectric power plant in the canton of Solothurn. The hydrogen uses electricity from renewable sources in Switzerland only (water, solar, wind), making it carbon free and environmentally friendly. This is completely green hydrogen produced to the SAE standard J2719.

Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility AG plans to import up to 1’600 hydrogen-electric trucks by 2025. The first 10 volume-production trucks are on their way to Europe. The hydrogen supply and the structure of the commercial vehicles, infrastructure, and filling station network are ready for the first 50 Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks. The 36 t trailer trucks are expected to be on Swiss roads before the end of 2020. These will be made available on a pay-per-use basis to transport and logistics companies distributing goods within Switzerland.

The members of the H2 Mobility Switzerland Association are using the vehicles to build the nationwide refuelling infrastructure with 350 bar and 700 bar for commercial vehicles and cars respectively. The network of filling stations will be expanded over the coming years to supply the growing number of trucks with green hydrogen. Hydrogen filling stations are due to open in St. Gallen, Rümlang, Hunzenschwil, Zofingen, Berne-Bethlehem and Crissier by the end of 2020. At various filling stations, the green hydrogen is also being offered under the designation H2 ZERO.

As the business innovator, H2 ENERGY Ltd operates the central platform for implementing the mobility system (skills centre for technology and business).

Hyundai and Toyota already offer hydrogen-powered electric cars in Switzerland.

Hydrogen mobility can benefit both consumers and the environment. Hydrogen can be produced locally to ensure energy independence. It offers carbon-free mobility, with only water vapour coming out of the exhaust. Electric drives are also quiet and efficient, while hydrogen vehicles are just as quick to refuel as conventional ones.

Hydrogen-electric mobility can also play a major role in the general energy system, as electricity providers can feed excess energy from renewable sources like wind, solar and water to the mobility sector, enabling extensive vehicle range.

Hydrogen also has the advantage that it can be stored. Power-to-gas technology is key for integrating electricity from renewable sources such as hydropower, photovoltaics or wind into the energy system, including use in the mobility sector.

Information on the H2 Mobility Switzerland Association and its members is available at www.h2mobilitaet.ch.