Great Wall Motor (GWM) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with joint venture H2 MOBILITY Germany to become its seventh shareholder and co-owner.

The Chinese car manufacturer joins the six existing shareholders – Air Liquide, Daimler, Linde, OMV, Shell and TOTAL – as part of a collaboration H2 MOBILITY Managing Director Nikolas Iwan hopes will “accelerate the transition to widespread use of hydrogen (H2) in mobility”.

The news was officially announced yesterday by GWM at the 3rd International Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Vehicle Conference (FCVC 2018) in Rugao, China.

Explaining how the collaboration came about, Iwan said, “I visited GWM in June and was honoured to be one of the first to visit their new state-of-the-art H2 development and testing centre in Baoding, China.”

“I was impressed by the clarity and determination with which Chairman Wei and his leadership team have set the course to be at the frontline of new vehicle technologies. I am sure they will succeed in leading the way for electric and fuel-cell electric vehicles in particular.”

“For H2 MOBILITY, the commitment and investment of GWM as a shareholder is of great value not only because of the cars GWM will deliver in the future, but also because by collaborating closely with important car manufacturers and producers learning can be accelerated and we can increase the visibility of H2 as a fuel for individual and goods mobility.”

“I look forward to intensifying the collaboration to accelerate the transition to widespread use of H2 in mobility!”

World’s fastest expanding network

H2 MOBILITY was founded in 2015 by six leading oil, gas and automotive companies with a goal to establish a countrywide network of 700 bar H2 stations all over Germany. As of today, there are 52 stations in operation.

“Germany is a pathfinder market for H2,” Iwan continued. “In 2017 no other country built as many stations as Germany. In 2018 we will repeat that record, making the network the world’s fastest expanding network of H2 stations. H2 MOBILITY is by far the biggest single operator of H2 stations worldwide.”

“In parallel with this rapid network expansion, there are more and more vehicles in the market. For passenger mobility, there are three models now available to customers in Germany from Daimler, Hyundai and Toyota. Other 700 bar applications like the first garbage collection truck or delivery vehicles as well as buses with 350 bar make Germany a leading market.”

“H2 MOBILITY owns all operative tasks, including network planning, building and operating the stations. Some of the reasons why Air Liquide, Daimler, Linde, OMV, Shell and TOTAL have joined forces in H2 MOBILITY include minimising risks, bundling of expertise, speeding up international standardisation and making better and more efficient use of funding.”

“For H2 to succeed as a zero-emission fuel for cars, buses and trucks, it is essential that car manufacturers and infrastructure companies work together closely. An infrastructure without cars is worthless and doomed to fail.”

“By the same token, customers will not want to buy cars without a credible perspective of being able to reliably refuel them wherever they want to go.”

H2 MOBILITY is committed to establishing a nationwide hydrogen refuelling station infrastructure in Germany to support the development of German fuel cell vehicles.

In its first phase of the programme until 2019, it will operate 100 stations between the seven metropolitan areas (Hamburg, Berlin, Rhein-Ruhr, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Stuttgart and Munich) with the highest traffic volume.

In the next few years, it will continue to build more than 300 H2 refuelling stations to match the growing number of fuel cell vehicles, thus establishing the world’s largest network of H2 refuelling stations in Germany.