1. While due to Corona I cannot drive FCEVs across Europe, as I have done sofar, at the moment, I am transferring my knowledge into the digital world.
Whether our Brave New World is coming to a standstill, or as we are striving to find out new ways how to go on, goods still have to be transported and we the people still want to be mobile to satisfy our needs. Have you driven a car with an electric engine yet? Some cars use a battery that you charge up, others employ a fuel cell to generate the power and they are filled with hydrogen. I have tried out both, but have more experience with the latter, the hydrogen-fueled “fuel cell-electric vehicle” (abbreviated as “FCEV”, battery-electric cars being the “EV”). Below, I offer some explanations how to calculate a road trip, where to find stations with or without an App, how to test and where to find cars, and will later add some tools and webinars. Make sure to return to this page for updates.
Most of us are driving combustion engines (petrol, diesel, compressed natural gas and some other fuels), so we are used to refuelling the vehicle at a station. EVs are different in that you need to attach the vehicle to a power supply. FCEVs, though containing an electric engine as the EV, are however refuelled in a similar way as compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles; i.e. attach the hose, lock the valve and press a button. Since 2014, I have been testing the range of an FCEV, mainly driving the Hyundai FCEVs across Europe and Toyota Mirai, Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL and Hyundai NEXO on shorter distances. Over time, my distances kept increasing. I drove 550 kilometres (340 miles) with one full tank of hydrogen at moderate speed. At high speed, as is possible on some German Autobahns, 370 km (230 mi) were still achievable. I learned to start at a comfortable speed, go easy on the gas pedal, and as the range is calculated according to your acceleration behaviour, it should increase the range shown in the display. More important however is what the fuel gauge says. As the range is based on historical data, the available energy supply tells you something about the trip ahead of you. With increasing numbers of hydrogen refuelling stations in recent years, I was also able to increase my average speed. In 2016, it was 80 km/h, by 2018 I was at 110 km/h. The refuelling takes 3-5 minutes. Whether with EVs or FCEVs, the range varies among others with elevation, utilisation of heating/air condition and acceleration.
I am still working on an FCEV range calculation tool, and will place the link HERE at a later time. For any questions, please contact me directly.
Hydrogen refuelling infrastructure for FCEV
For the while I can only write about the European continent, as I have not yet driven FCEVs nor EVs outside Europe. My main countries are Austria and Germany, though my longest road trips were from Norway to Italy and from Austria to The Netherlands twice. In 2016, I started with pulling all the necessary information about hydrogen refuelling stations (HRS) out of the internet which was a long-ish process. By 2018, I began testing an App that I found useful and it took me less planning time before starting my road trip. Nowadays, I am safe to say that I do not need any planning time and I can just start driving immediately from the spot. If you are riding in a passenger FCEV then that is different from FCEV trucks or buses, as cars refuel 700 bars and trucks or buses 350 bars; this refers to the gas pressure, and the more hydrogen I get into my tank the further my range. Comparing the previous Hyundai Tucson/ix35 FCEV to the current Hyundai NEXO, the latter’s tank is larger.
The App I have been using can be found on https://h2.live/ or you may refer to my own HRS-page which I am still filling with more stations when I find the time to do so.
This is the fun part, I find. You take a seat, press the Start-button and go. While at first, I had the expectation to sit in a spaceship, it turned out that it was still a car. Electric driving though feels smoother, quieter and I am more relaxed even after a long journey, compared to combustion engines. I will continue testing all current and new technologies, but I can recommend to each and everyone to just make your own picture no matter which technology. My personal focus was on the handling of a futuristic vehicle, the comfort inside and making sharp brakes. Further, I tested long distances as well as Winter conditions. Also, I sat in FCEV buses as a passenger.
I am still making up my mind about how to transfer my knowledge in a digital way, reverting, and meanwhile please refer to this video from June 2016.
In this second video, I tested the water that came out of the exhaust of the FCEV during a presentation I held in March 2017 at my old university in Vienna.
Where are the FCEVs?
Nowadays, we can own or even share cars. But, before going that far, a little familarisation comes in handy. One of the main obstacles I found in the past years driving the new technology was, where or how one would even get hold of these futuristic cars. This is a potential for car manufacturers and dealerships to reach out more to the enduser. I have tested the technology as an enduser. I am not in the business of selling cars, but getting to know what our future may bring is where I like to share my experience, and to answer questions related to the FCEV.
In case you are looking for an FCEV to test, please feel free to contact me, in case I can help to locate one near you, or where to find the next HRS.