Zonne-energie omzetten in waterstof om daar vervolgens de de auto mee vol te tanken? Het is een van de toekomstvisioenen van het Fraunhofer-instituut
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On June 3, 2020, the German government decided to increase the subsidy for e-vehicles as part of a corona economic stimulus package. Purchasers of electric vehicles up to a listed net price of €40,000 can now receive a total subsidy of €9,000. That’s €6,000 from the state and €3,000 from the manufacturer. In the case of a plug-in hybrid, there is a total subsidy of €6,750 available. In addition to battery vehicles and plug-in hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will of course also be subsidized. And this support could offer an extra boost to the latter.

© Block-Builders.de

Moreover, Germany is already the European leader in this field with 17,238 hydrogen fuel cell patents. Globally, only Japan and the USA have filed more applications for patents. The Federal Republic is also in the lead when it comes to hydrogen filling stations. Although there are only 84 such filling stations in the whole country which are already in operation, this is 121 % more than in all other European countries combined, according to a new infographic from Block-Builders.de. Another 21 hydrogen filling stations are currently under construction according to data from H2.live. Norway ranks second with six active H2 filling stations and another four under construction.

© Block-Builders.de

Hydrogen is catching on

Compared to battery cars, vehicles with hydrogen fuel cells are still in the minority by far. But this could change in the coming years and decades. For example, publicly-listed hydrogen companies have seen a 958% gain in share prices over the past five years. The search term “hydrogen shares” has increased by 1,850 % on Google during the past two years.

Various studies estimate that the demand for hydrogen will increase “dramatically” over the coming years. Management consultancy firm Roland Berger, for example, has calculated that a “global mass market with a volume of up to 2.3 trillion euros” will be established by the year 2050. The automobile market is bound to change because of this development. A graph shows that by then, more than 30 % of vehicles will be powered by hydrogen.

© Block-Builders.de

Do German car manufacturers have an advantage?

“Hydrogen technology could play a decisive role in future,” claims Block-Builders analyst Raphael Lulay. “Not in the least because the use of green hydrogen makes it seem as though the climate goals can be achieved. Germany, in turn, has a pioneering role in this respect. The German government’s latest package of measures could further advance this development. This technology of the future also offers a wide range of opportunities for investors.”

Time will tell to what extent these projections will actually materialize. But if they are correct, this could give Germany and manufacturers (such as Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, et al.) an advantage on the international market. After all, the country is already Number One in this respect in Europe today. Apart from that, German automobile companies are exploring all directions in terms of drive systems. In contrast to companies like Tesla, which concentrates purely on battery drives.