Hydrogen-powered cars remain an unlikely short-term solution for zero-emissions travel, despite the firm revealing two concept vehicles and a production van powered by the fuel, Renault CEO Luca de Meo has revealed.
Talking following the unveiling of the Renault Scenic Vision concept using a hydrogen fuel cell range extender, and months after the Alpine A4810 was unveiled, powered by combusted hydrogen, de Meo said: “Hydrogen has a role. We will have a commercial vehicle on sale using this technology this year, and work with business partners to introduce it.
“But on cars? Honestly, who knows. The challenge is making costs acceptable for customers and installing a charging network. There are still debates on making the electric charging network good enough - and in comparison to a hydrogen refuelling network that is simple.”
Hydrogen-powered Renault Master vans will go on sale this summer, developed as part of a joint venture with Plug Power, under the name Hyvia. As well as selling vans it will work with fleet customers to provide hydrogen fuel stations and logistics support.
“For some fleets battery electric is not a solution - just a barrier,” said de Meo. “They find they would need to buy two vans rather than one - one to be driven and one to be plugged in, charging. Hydrogen can answer that problem.”
De Meo also revealed that the Group was planning to test combusting hydrogen directly in a racing engine as part of an extension of the philosophy explored by the Alpine A4810. Plug Power joined the Alpine Formula 1 team as a sponsor this year, with a specific brief to “explore different mobility solutions.”