Symbio, the French Leader and manufacturer of hydrogen (H2) fuel cell vehicles in Europe, has announced a hydrogen fuel cell integration to Nissan electric vehicle to tackle air pollution in urban areas.

Pierre Yves Le Berre

Pierre Yves Le Berre

gasworld spoke to Vice-President of Symbio, Pierre-Yves Le Berre, to discuss the new technology and the company’s future goals.

Can you tell gasworld a little more about Symbio’s new venture with Nissan?

We have integrated our H2 Fuel Cell into Nissan Electric Vehicles to provide a key solution for emission-free mobility in urban areas. Indeed, taxis in particular have been identified as a major source of air pollution in urban areas. Consequently, more emission-related regulations are expected to be enforced.

As a dominant player in the sustainable automotive industry, Symbio felt it was important to address this issue. Subsequently, the company is exploring a new market segment – duty vehicles – and hopes to answer the market’s needs.

Why was Nissan selected?

We wanted to demonstrate that it is possible to drive emission-free for an intensive usage cycle. The new Nissan e-NV200 electric van is commonly used for intensive urban taxi operation and online passenger transportation network services so it seemed to be the most appropriate vehicle for the project.

By integrating our H2 fuel cell we have created a new plug-in hybrid H2 fuel cell vehicle which is able to deliver at least 500 km of range without emitting pollution. Moreover, the vehicle comes in serial production and enables a platform to build economies of scale.

Can you explain how the new hybrid technology works?

The integration is a plug-in hybrid parallel architecture. In simple terms, both battery and FC systems use the same power, feeding the e-motor. In case the power needed exceeds the FC system power (15 kW), the additional energy comes from the battery. In idle time, the FC system does not shut down and can recharge the battery. The vehicle heating system is also coupled to the cooling system of the Fuel Cell for maximum efficiency and similar range in winter as summer.

What’s next for Symbio?

Symbio plans to develop and integrate its fuel cell systems into larger vehicles such as trucks and buses. The common point of all our development sits on intensive usage and urban usage vehicles.

Symbio is targeting all fleet managers and the automotive community, looking for sustainable growth.