Hyvia’s encouraging debut in the hydrogen utility market

At the Flins plant, which opened less than a year ago, Hyvia manufactures fuel cells for utility vehicles and assembles fuel stations. The young company is optimistic about the future.

In March 2022, in the heart of the historic area of ​​Renault Flins-sur-Seine (Yvelines), Hyvia inaugurated a factory specialized in the production of 30 kW fuel cells (PAC) for the French manufacturer’s hydrogen utility vehicles. The goal of this joint venture between Renault Group and Plug Power: to produce 1,000 fuel cells per year based on proton exchange membrane (PEM) technology, as well as to assemble charging stations installed at its customers.

In less than a year, the company is compiling an initial positive assessment of its progress and prospects, despite rising prices for raw materials and energy. The Master Van H2-Tech, designed for the transportation of goods, has already been in circulation on European roads for several months, having been tested in France with dozens of partners or logistics partners such as Airbus, Chronopost, Engie or Orange or Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG. and Packeta in Germany. The production version is now open for online booking. After making many contacts during the Paris Motor Show and the Hannover Utility Vehicle Show, Hyvia is set to increase orders from a few dozen units to several hundred units this year and reach several thousand units in 2024.

Minibuses and charging stations

The city bus version, designed to carry up to 15 passengers, also found its first test customers and production partners, starting with RATP: PVI in France, Qibus in Italy and Mellor in Scandinavia. Referenced by Ugap, France’s public procurement center, it will be produced this year. We have already established relations with municipalities and municipal communities in a number of European countries, in particular for the purpose of negotiating the creation of a low-emission zone. Says Mehdi Ferhan, General Manager of Operations at Hyvia. period, 200 cities are concerned. We are even at the stage of discussing the expected feasibility and the level of transformation to be done…

This allowed us to characterize the real competitive advantage of hydrogen compared to electricity.

Aiming at professionals, the Renault cab chassis should begin its career on the roads in the second half of 2023. Meanwhile, the company is also launching the first pilots of off-site or on-site charging stations. production system. We are starting supply operations in the industrial area west of Paris with the idea of ​​replicating it in other areas in a few months.Mehdi Ferhan says.

Encouraging signals

If the young company closely follows the evolution of the economic situation, its current fluctuations do not worry it much for the moment. It favors the generalization of low-emission zones and the entry into force of the Euro 7 standard for car emissions in 2025, followed by the end of sales of thermal vehicles in 2035. As for the reviews, it is also encouraging. As of March 2022, we have cost our customers dearly. We had more and more cars to counter the market and different use cases. This made it possible to characterize the real gain of competitiveness of hydrogen compared to electricity in the case of intensive use due to the speed of refueling. Mehdi Ferhan comments. The added value for last-mile delivery is provided by the vehicle’s autonomy, which can return to the depot at the end of the day without the need for refueling.

Stellantis is also in the ranks
Hyvia is not the only company offering hydrogen utilities. Stellantis has also made himself busy. Peugeot has designed the e-Expert Citron, the Symbio battery-powered Jumpy, just like Renault’s Kangoo, and the Opel lithium-ion hybrid Vivaro.

The European Commission’s July 2022 approval of HY2Tech’s Important Project of Common European Interest (Piec), which includes Hyvia, should also give the company access to public funding. It is enough to ensure that it increases its R&D capabilities and develops new products and even its own electrolyzers, as well as going industrial, strengthening its tool for vehicles and stations. However, increasing our production capacity also means better controlling our costs, thus making hydrogen vehicles fully competitive with internal combustion vehicles.Mehdi Ferhan says.

Article published on February 01, 2023

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