Professional driving – with hydrogen

Portrait Kurt-Christoph von KnobelsdorffKurt-Christoph von Knobelsdorff

The debate about the future use of hydrogen is in full swing. At the moment, many different opinions are clashing; after all, the energy industry is also about re-sorting the balance of power. Sometimes, however, it is almost frightening to observe the fierce battles that are being fought, especially in the social media.

During an event in Berlin, Kurt-Christoph von Knobelsdorff, the managing director of the National Organisation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW) GmbH, remarked that the discussion had now taken on almost religious characteristics. He spoke of a “radical one-sidedness” that could be found especially on the part of the battery advocates. Among fuel cell fans, no one negates the need for accumulators, says the NOW boss.

Ferry Franz, Director Hydrogen Affairs Europe at Toyota, commented: “In terms of inner cities, small electric vehicles are certainly ahead.” However, he further noted to has-to-be’s e-mobility internet platform that in the future, hydrogen will definitely be ahead “when it comes to professional driving, transportation, long distance, transport and heavy-duty”.

Perhaps this concept of “professional driving” is the decisive element in order to be able to better decide in the future when and where battery or fuel cell-powered vehicles should be used: In the private sector, there are now great and even very affordable offers to be able to travel efficiently and sustainably electrically – with battery cars.

However, the majority of the transport sector in which people drive for work could be covered much more efficiently with hydrogen. Buses, trucks, vans, ships, planes, trains are usually operated commercially. Professionals are at work here, so completely different standards apply than in the private sector.

While private individuals tend to choose their cars according to shape or colour, or according to which brand or performance class they prefer, other values count for professional drivers. Here, the focus is on factors such as economy, efficiency, durability, time savings and range.

Here is a small example: My neighbour is a salesman at a large German supplier company. He is always provided with a fancy, large company car by his employer so that he can travel quickly and comfortably in the field. Now his boss has decided to make the company’s own vehicle fleet CO2-neutral already by 2025. My neighbour thinks it’s a great idea and is in favour of this step, but he and many of his colleagues now fear that they will then get battery cars.

…Read more in the latest H2-International


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