Vehicle Manufacturers Embracing Hydrogen At Last

After a decade of rushing to build more hybrid battery and pure electric cars and vans, big manufacturers are finally realising that the charging infrastructure for commercial vans and trucks will most likely never be available in practical terms. Recent cold weather in the UK saw huge queues of Tesla and other EV owners waiting their turn to charge, as their battery range suddenly dropped.

Commercial delivery vans, which obviously have to stop and start dozens of times per day, need recharging often. In Europe vans used to be left at works depots overnight, but many firms now allow drivers to park their vans at home, which solves the commuting problem of course. It does however raise the problem of charging millions of vans and light trucks overnight in the future.

Perhaps the cleaner, greener answer is hydrogen?

Back in the 1990s there were several hydrogen vehicle prototypes, even some filling station infrastructure was built in the UK. But Shell and others pulled out as they realised it was easier to stick with diesel and petrol, plus the UK government foolishly peddled the lie that diesel was somehow a “green” fuel, simply because part of the exhaust gas was recycled back into the engine via EGR valves.

Now manufactures like Renault, Honda, Toyota and others are waking up to reality. For fleet usage hydrogen makes far more sense that battery powered vans and trucks; less weight, greater range, adaptable to existing tech and its tailpipe clean too – just water vapour. The other upside is an ESG gain, as hydrogen vehicles do not require the mining of lithium, cobalt or other battery pack materials, often using forced or child labour. That is a regulatory and moral win for insurance brands of course.

The other benefit for insurance brands is that hydrigen conversion of existing cars and vans may see more customers on the road in the future, instead of the small elite able to afford – and access – the EV road network of the WEF 15 minute cities. That policy will force millions to give up car ownership, whereas hydrogen fuel may extend the mass market consumer base for some decades to come.


The latest collab venture is HYVIA (JV between Renault and Plug) and HYSETCO, here’s the word;

  • HYVIA and HYSETCO are developing a new cooperation which aims at:
    • The improvement ofthe customer experience of HYVIA light commercial vehicles users in the public H2 refueling stations of the HYSETCO network.
    • The study of an integrated offer of HYVIA commercial vehicles to be proposed by HYSETCO, including the vehicle, the associated services, and the supply of hydrogen.
    • Complementary services proposed by HYSETCO for HYVIA light commercial vehicle customers.
    • HYVIA’s support for the development of HYSETCO’s network of public H2 stations.


Honda has always been a visionary company and its use of hydrogen will not be purely for commercial vans. One great piece of lateral thinking is hydrogen engines which are static power generators, for things like outdoor events, emergency response, back up for commercial premises, factories etc. Here’s the word;

  • Honda has identified four core domains for the utilization of its fuel cell system: fuel cell vehicles (FCEV), commercial vehicles, stationary power stations and construction machinery, and will actively engage in collaboration with other companies.
  • In the area of commercial vehicles, in addition to conducting joint research on fuel cell heavy-duty trucks with Isuzu Motors Limited, Honda began demonstration test driving of commercial trucks equipped with the next-generation fuel cell system in collaboration with Dongfeng Motor Group Co., Ltd.
  • In the mid-2020s, Honda will begin external sales of its fuel cell system at the level of 2,000 units per year, with a plan to expand sales in stages. Honda will strive to increase sales to 60,000 units in 2030, and to a few hundred thousand units per year by the second half of the 2030s.


One of the trailblazers in hydrogen cars, Toyota kinda backed away from their Mirai project a few years ago, but now seems to have got its mojo back.

Toyota recently showed off a converted AE86 sports hatchback from the 1990s, to highlight how old cars can be easily updated to un on hydrogen, with very little modification. Toyota is also pushing the Mirai more aggressively online now, with a ten year warranty to tempt would be owners. It also showcased the second generation Mirai in India recently, which is one of the fastest growing car markets in the world.

Toyota is also testing a liquid hydrogen race car, so that the problems of storing fuel, refuelling the car and extending the car’s range at racing speeds can all be developed further.


About alastair walker 10924 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

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