Hydrogen-powered range extenders equip entire EV fleet in the first large-scale implementation of the technology in France under the HyWay project.

The Grenoble, France-based Tenerrdis energy cluster is currently coordinating a ground-breaking project that will result in the rollout of a fleet of 50 hybrid electric/hydrogen-powered utility vehicles and the construction of two hydrogen filling stations in Lyon and Grenoble. The project has the financial backing of the Rhône-Alpes regional government and the French national energy management (ADEME) and environment, development, and housing (DREAL) agencies. It also aligns with European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) objectives.

The first phase of the HyWay project will get hydrogen-powered electric vehicle range extenders ready for industrial-scale manufacturing and—ultimately—installation on board the electric-powered Renault Kangoo ZE utility vehicle. The extenders will give the vehicle a total range of 300km (city).

Next, a fleet of 50 of the hybrid electric/hydrogen-powered Kangoo ZEs will be put into service for a minimum of eighteen months’ testing. The rollout will take place in the Rhône-Alpes region, where two hydrogen filling stations will be built—one in Grenoble and the other in Lyon. The multi-user test will provide ample opportunities to gather feedback on how well the vehicles and filling stations work together and whether their performance meets expectations in a variety of use scenarios.

Some 80% of France’s hydrogen-energy businesses are located in the Rhône-Alpes region, where an ambitious regional innovation policy is driving the growth of a dynamic hydrogen-energy industry. To see this preindustrial R&D project through to fruition, the Tenerrdis energy cluster is partnering with the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and seven manufacturing companies: Air Liquide, CNR, GEG, McPhy Energy, PUS (COFELY Services), STEF, and Symbio FCell.

The HyWay project will test a unique and innovative captive-fleet implementation model and demonstrate France’s industry-leading know-how in hydrogen-energy. And the users involved in the test will effectively pioneer tomorrow’s hydrogen-fuelled sustainable mobility.

The number of hydrogen-energy programs being implemented around the globe is on the rise. And, thanks to a diverse cohort of innovative businesses internationally recognised for their expertise in hydrogen-energy, France is carving out a top slot in this emerging industry. Many of these businesses are also members of the Mobilité Hydrogène France consortium for the development of hydrogen-energy infrastructures across the nation. The HyWay project’s filling stations represent the initial building blocks of a future national network.

Hydrogen-powered mobility has the capacity to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and curb traffic-related pollution in urban areas. The second phase of the HyWay project will focus on developing local hydrogen production using electricity locally generated from renewable resources. This phase of the project will demonstrate the transformative potential of an end-to-end hydrogen-energy value chain from the initial renewable resource to zero-emissions urban mobility.