PARIS (Reuters) – The HYVIA hydrogen venture between carmaker Renault and U.S. company Plug Power will sell products throughout Europe, and will assemble fuel cells and hydrogen refueling stations at the Flins factory in France in late 2021.
The HYVIA venture added in a statement on Tuesday that it would offer a range of three fuel-cell powered Master Large Van models by the end of 2021.
“HYVIA offers turnkey mobility solutions that leverage the production, storage, distribution of green hydrogen and a wide range of H2 LCVs. These solutions will meet the new needs of businesses, large accounts, fleets, and local communities and drive energy transition as a whole,” said HYVIA president David Holderbach.
Carmakers around the world such as Renault are focusing increasingly on electric vehicles and on hydrogen, as part of the auto industry’s plans to be more environmentally-friendly.
Last month, Renault unveiled a more ambitious strategy for electric vehicles (EVs), betting on new, affordable versions of its iconic small cars of the past to catch up with Volkswagen in the fast-growing sector.
General Motors also announced last month that it would supply electric batteries and hydrogen fuel cell systems for rail supplier Wabtec Corp’s locomotives, extending the No. 1 U.S. automaker’s reach outside the automotive sector.
Hydrogen vehicles are also a form of electric vehicles, although they rely on a fuel cell which transforms the hydrogen into electricity on board the vehicle.
Hydrogen has come into the spotlight in Europe, where EU environment ministers want truck CO2 emissions cut by a third by 2030 from 2019 levels, threatening potential diesel bans and higher taxes but promising up to 75% of lower road tolls for greener vehicles.
Although more expensive than battery electric vehicles, fuel cell electric vehicles, driven by on-board hydrogen, will potentially benefit from Europe’s desire to build a world-leading industry around the hydrogen technology.
(Reporting by Gilles Guillaume; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)