LOOKING AHEAD, WHY DO WE NEED HYDROGEN FUEL CELLS WHEN WE ALREADY HAVE BATTERYELECTRIC DRIVE SYSTEMS?
FAVRE — A vehicle driven by fuel cells that use hydrogen is an electric vehicle. For us, it’s not a question of either-or. There are so many factors involved – the level of infrastructure provision in each local market, for example – that will determine which technology comes out on top. When it comes to range, hybrid vehicles that combine a fuel cell drive with a small battery have the edge.
WOLF — It’s also worth bearing in mind that hydrogen from solar, hydro, or wind energy is a potentially infinite resource. By contrast, the production of lithium-ion batteries is based on the extraction of finite raw materials, and the extraction methods used are not always environmentally friendly. That’s not an argument against the use of electric drive systems in urban areas, but when you are dealing with vehicles that need to cover very long distances, the fuel cell is a better solution from a sustainability point of view.
FAVRE — From a geostrategic perspective, too, hydrogen-based mobility systems would make us less dependent on other regions when it comes to meeting demand for energy and raw materials.
WOLF — I would certainly agree with that. At present, Europe is way behind the Asian countries in the battery cell market. By contrast, we lead the world in fuel cell technology.