A group of 13 companies led by Daimler, BMW, and Toyota have pledged to invest more than $10 billion during the next five years into the development of infrastructure and also technology advancements to get more of the general public to buy hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. The announcement was made in announcement in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday.
The group which also includes car manufacturers Honda and Hyundai, as well as companies such as Shell, AirLiquide, Linde Group, and Total SA, has been named the Hydrogen Council.
The byproduct of hydrogen combustion is water vapour and not harmful gases and so the Hydrogen Council’s pledge represents a continuation of the 2015 Paris Agreement, in which many of the companies agreed to address the issue of climate change. The group says that hydrogen,“can play an important role in the transition to a clean, low-carbon, energy system.” The Hydrogen Council also agreed to push global governments to accelerate public investment in hydrogen-related infrastructure.
Currently Toyota is the only automaker that sells a production fuel-cell vehicle, the Mirai, in the US. However, Mercedes-Benz, a Daimler subsidiary, will start selling its GLC plug-in hydrogen fuel-cell crossover this year.
There are only 33 publicly accessible hydrogen refueling stations in the US, including 30 in California, and one each in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina, according to the US Department of Energy. By comparison, there are more than 15 000 electric-vehicle charging stations with almost 40 000 outlets in the US.
In South Africa there are around 55 electric-vehicle charging stations and last year Impala Platinum unveiled South Africa’s first hydrogen fuel cell forklift and refuelling station. At the unveiling in April 2016, minister of science and technology Naledi Pandor said that “South Africa is making a number of bold moves that could see the country leapfrog into being a leading hydrogen fuel cell technology industrial hub.”