Ihe diamond brand plans to assemble 1,000 fuel cells each year in Flins, the system that produces electricity from hydrogen, Hyvia, its joint venture with the American pioneer of hydrogen, said on Tuesday. Plug Power fuel cell, during a site visit.
Based on the Renault Master
The different versions of Renault Master utility vehicles (van, chassis cab or minibus) will be equipped with this fuel cell, as well as a small electric battery, at the Gretz-Armainvilliers site (Seine-et-Marne) and delivered in test to first customers. Installed in a hangar on this historic Renault site, where the electric Zoé succeeded the Dauphine and the Twingo, Hyvia also plans to assemble charging stations and produce some hydrogen to test the batteries.
An attractive alternative to battery electric utilities
Compared to electric utilities, which are beginning to multiply in cities, hydrogen vehicles have the advantage of a short charging time and long autonomy, close to diesel, sought by logistics companies such as local authorities. But the production of carbon-free hydrogen as well as the distribution network remain to be developed.
30% of the European utility market
Renault is positioning itself against Stellantis, which delivered its first hydrogen-powered Peugeot and Opel utility vehicles at the end of 2021, but also against Hyundai or Toyota, which are betting on this energy. Hyvia currently employs 70 people, including 25 in Flins, mostly from other workshops on the site, and there is still plenty of room to increase production. “Everything will depend on the acceleration of the market”, underlined David Holderbach, the general manager of Hyvia. It is ultimately targeting 30% of the European hydrogen utility market, particularly in France, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
Hyvia’s hydrogen investment projects (located in Flins, Villiers-Saint-Frédéric, Batilly, and Gretz-Armainvilliers) are among the 15 projects pre-notified by France to the European Commission to receive aid under the European PIIEC program (Joint European Important Project) on hydrogen.