Hydrogen fueling sustainable mobility
Currently, the predominant models of electric vehicles use rechargeable batteries. But they come with major constraints: limited battery life and long charging times between journeys, reducing your vehicle’s availability. As they are, battery-powered electric vehicles cannot cover all mobility requirements.
Which is where fuel cell comes in. It generates electricity from hydrogen, one of the most abundant elements on our planet. The process is particularly clean because instead of releasing CO2, it simply produces water. The fuel cell can directly power an electric engine or be used to extend the vehicle’s range by recharging the battery during use. This fuel cell marks a return to the simple act of filling up but with hydrogen instead of traditional fuels, releasing you from any battery life constraints. Electric mobility can then meet all mobility requirements. The fuel cell genuinely represents the “best way forward” and has undeniable synergies with battery-powered vehicles.
Michelin sees hydrogen as a possible component of sustainable mobility. This is why we have been working on a hydrogen fuel cell since the 2000s. We are also active within the hydrogen ecosystem. We are a member of the French Association for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells (AFHYPAC), a member of the Hydrogen Europe platform, the European Association for the Hydrogen Industry, which federates over 100 companies and works on developing hydrogen solutions.
Michelin is also focusing on its Incubator Program Office (IPO) which since 2014 has been a shareholder in Symbio FCell, a pioneer of the fuel cell and inventor of the first battery life extender for hybrid vehicles (electricity - hydrogen). We are supporting them with the industrialization of their technology and also the challenges in terms of maintenance and hydrogen distribution network, particularly thanks to the expertise of our Euromaster network.
For Valérie Bouillon-Delporte, responsible for hydrogen projects within the Michelin Incubator Program Office, this commitment is essential:
As a key operator in sustainable mobility, our role is to see beyond the tire. We want to be involved with those who are developing this solution, providing them with our industrial expertise and support to accelerate their development.
Engie joins Michelin alongside Sybmio FCell
19th September 2016, the Engie group bought shares in Symbio FCell joining Michelin, a shareholder since 2014 who also participated in this fund raising. Thanks to Engie, an energy company specializing in hydrogen production and distribution infrastructures, the project is gaining traction. It now boasts expertise throughout the value chain, making the deployment of mass produced fuel cell operated vehicles possible.
Hydrogen: on the roads and on the tracks
Pursuing our tradition of trialling innovation in competitions for the benefit of consumers, we are partnering Green GT, an engineering laboratory specializing in R&D for high-power electric propulsion solutions, in particular for racing. For the 2016 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, a prototype vehicle took part running on a high power fuel cell designed by Symbio FCell. A first which will soon be followed by many similar prototypes, as the FIA has announced the introduction of this technology in racing within the next few years.