The zero-emissions hydrogen taxis

100% hydrogen taxis

How can we fight air pollution while continuing to transport passengers around major cities like Paris? By eliminating polluting exhaust emissions from vehicles, starting with taxis. They emit significant volumes of fine particles and produce an average of 17 tonnes of CO2 per car, per year. 

Founded by STEP in partnership with Air Liquide, Hype is the world’s first fleet of taxis that exclusively uses hydrogen-powered vehicles. The goal: zero emissions, zero noise pollution.

Hydrogen offers all the benefits of electric vehicles – silence, comfort, no polluting emissions – as well as a driving range of over 700 km and the ability to fill the tank in three minutes! However, the vehicles remain expensive, and this is even truer for hydrogen fuel stations.

Since 2015, Hype’s founding partner Air Liquide has supported the project in a virtuous circle: the Group builds hydrogen refueling stations in the Île-de-France region (France), and the fleet, which pools its vehicles across multiple drivers, uses the stations.

"Taxis are the perfect entry point to developing hydrogen vehicles, like company vehicle fleets, buses, waste collection vehicles, lorries, and trains."

Erwin Penfornis
Vice President of Air Liquide’s hydrogen energy world business line

A look back at Hype’s first steps

In 2009, Mathieu Gardies launched Société du Taxi Électrique Parisien (STEP). In 2015, he decided to focus on hydrogen vehicles. Thanks to Air Liquide’s investment via its venture capital fund ALIAD, Hype was launched during COP21.

In 2018 and 2019, Air Liquide and Toyota invested in HysetCo, a company created in 2017 by STEP  and dedicated to developing hydrogen mobility solutions in the Paris area. The objective: to develop the Hype taxi fleet by acquiring 500 additional Toyota Mirai vehicles. The same year, Hype was awarded the prestigious “Solar Impulse Solution” label by the eponymous foundation as part of its 1,000 innovative solutions to fight climate change.

In January 2021, €80 million of fundraising accelerated Hype’s growth, with the company acquiring taxi firm Slota and its 600 taxi licences in Paris. Air Liquide, which was already a partner of HysetCo, brought the investment to €100 million. The funds raised will also be used to develop new hydrogen refueling stations in Paris.

“This fundraising will give us the critical mass that we need to continue to roll out a virtuous hydrogen-based ecosystem.”

Mathieu Gardies
Founder and CEO of Hype taxis

About refueling stations

After the Pont de l’Alma bridge, Orly and Roissy airports in Paris, and the Plateau de Saclay (in the suburbs of Paris), two new hydrogen refueling stations will become operational in 2021: Porte de La Chapelle and Porte de Saint-Cloud, with the latter equipped with an electrolyzer providing renewable hydrogen.

The goal is to create a network across the Île-de-France region, with 20 hydrogen fuel stations by 2024 for a total capacity of 10,000 vehicles – not only taxis but also buses, LCVs, lorries, and more.

2015: launch with 5 hydrogen taxis and a hydrogen fuel station in the center of Paris 
2017: inauguration of the second station at Orly airport in Paris and creation of HysetCo by STEP 
2018 and 2019: Air Liquide and Toyota invest in HysetCO to support Hype’s growth
2021: Acquisition of Slota Group, a taxi society with 600 licenses 
By the end of 2021: 700 vehicles expected in Paris 
By 2024: around 20 hydrogen fuel stations to fuel 10,000 cars

“2021 will be the year of internationalization. There’s no time to lose – hydrogen is accelerating! We’ve identified major cities with an ecosystem that’s favourable to hydrogen taxis,” says Mathieu Gardies.

After Paris, the model could be replicated in Brussels, London, Lisbon, Madrid and Rome.