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2018 Paris Motor Show

Hydrogen makes its way

The 2018 Paris Motor Show (or Mondial) paid special attention to new technologies and alternative energies: electric, hybrid, natural gas for vehicles, etc. And naturally, hydrogen energy fitted in this trend. Toyota offered the general public the chance to test its Mirai model, while Hyundai unveiled its new 100% hydrogen vehicle NEXO. Overview.

A Mondial in the throes of (r)evolution

For David Puech, head of marketing & development for the Paris Motor Show, things could not be clearer: “The automotive industry is in motion. Today, it is important to think about cars and mobility at the same time. An event like ours must reflect the changes taking place. It’s no longer a question of just exhibiting vehicles: participating manufacturers are proposing experiences to engage their customers and their communities. Values ​​are being expressed. Sustainable mobility, driverless cars, and the pleasure of car travel are fundamental trends. I will also add an entire offer, which did not exist before, related to ridesharing.

New energies and new modes of urban transportation now have a legitimate place at this annual event. “The Mondial seeks to showcase the existence of a myriad of vehicles, practices, and energies. Hydrogen is part of the mix, which means that Air Liquide is at its rightful place in this kind of event”.

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Testing hydrogen mobility in the heart of Paris

120 years ago, the Automobile Club de France organized its 1st motor show in the Tuileries Garden. In 2018, Place de Concorde hosted a test center for clean vehicles. An opportunity to test a portion of the electricity, hybrid, NGV and hydrogen offer.

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"This iconic place shows that the automotive industry is ready for the challenges it faces, including low-carbon urban mobility. This is an opportunity to demonstrate to the general public that alternative solutions are ready and that to try them is to adopt them" says David Puech, Marketing & Development Director for the Mondial.
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Partners for this event, Air Liquide and Toyota showcased two hydrogen powered Mirai cars. A great opportunity to appreciate the benefits of this technology: an incomparable driving pleasure, an extended range of more than 500 kilometers, and a recharge time of only 5 minutes. On board the vehicles, visitors can use a tablet to learn how an Air Liquide hydrogen charging station works. "The silence of these vehicle is really stunning and the acceleration surprising. I have tested an electric vehicle before, but I find the extended range capacity of a fuel cell vehicle very attractive" says Franck, a one-day visitor, after taking a test drive.

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Toyota's trust in Mirai

Some 3,000 Mirai cars have been produced each year since its launch in 2014. They’re sold primarily in Japan, in the U.S. state of California, and in a few European countries. Sébastien Grellier, head of media communications for Toyota France, notes: "The Prius launched the hybrid motor trend. It isn’t a stretch to say that the Mirai will play the same role for hydrogen-powered vehicles. We are strong believers in this technology and hope it will develop largely.

In 2020, the second generation of Mirai will be launched in Japan with improvements pertaining to the fuel cell. From there, production volumes should be multiplied tenfold. Today, we are doing small runs. Tomorrow, we will industrialize the production of tanks and fuel cells developed in-house, and this will lower production costs. Then, the widespread adoption of this technology will begin. In addition to the Mirai, other hydrogen models will emerge (utility vehicles and trucks in particular).

For hydrogen energy to develop, the approach must be global: it requires a supply of vehicles, stations to recharge them and, ideally, identified uses. There is not just one model. In France, highly localized ecosystems are developing, like Hype 100% hydrogen taxis that are active across Paris and its suburbs. In Germany, the approach is different, with the network of stations being deployed nationally with the support of the public authorities."

Hyundai: the NEXO generation

At Hyundai, the hydrogen story began in 1998. Unlike its predecessor, the ix35 that existed in the fuel injected version, NEXO is a vehicle whose architecture was designed exclusively
for a 100% hydrogen engine. Based on a set of new technologies, this model offers 666 km of extended range capacity (WLTP certification standard).

"Because of its exclusive nature, NEXO offers Hyundai the opportunity to showcase hydrogen, which is a technology with huge potential" notes Damien Rulière, press officer at Hyundai. "The current challenge is to build a market, particularly with other car manufacturers and players such as Air Liquide, which produces hydrogen. First, we have to convince. The concept of competition will come in a few years."

The involvement of car manufacturers within the Hydrogen Council

Launched in Davos back in 2017, the Hydrogen Council illustrates the desire of the the sector's main players to play their role in realizing the commitments of the COP 21. Directly operational it is putting hydrogen at the forefront of the energy transition. Among the current 50+ members, there are several major car manufacturers: Audi, BMW Group, Daimler, GM, Great Wall, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota.