Germany continues to ramp up its efforts in reducing its carbon footprint and encouraging a greener future, as news emerges that it will be home to the world’s first hydrogen vehicle car-sharing program. German industrial gas giant Linde has announced that the new service, called BeeZero, will launch in the city of Munich in the summer of 2016. As it stands, hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicles have seen slow consumer uptake due to a Catch-22 situation: there are few hydrogen cars on the streets, so companies don’t build a lot of refueling stations, and there are few refueling stations so people don’t buy hydrogen cars. With a non-committal car-sharing service, Linde hopes it will introduce a lot more drivers to the benefits of hydrogen.
“This is an amazing technology, but it’s not developing as fast you would hope. We can’t wait for someone else to develop it. We have to take the lead and do it ourselves, says Sandra Scherb, general manager of BeeZero to FastCoExist. The company will roll out 50 Hyundai iX35s this summer and a full refueling affords the driver up to 370 miles before needing to fill up again. In contrast, electric cars tend to only clock up 100 miles between recharges.
More attractively yet, hydrogen cars take as long as standard gas vehicles to refuel, while electric cars can take up to eight hours for a full charge. The hydrogen created by Linde comes from excess wind energy, as well as bio-methane from landfills and cars using it produce no emissions, apart from a few drops of water from the vehicle’s exhaust. However, it’s likely that anyone who rents a car from BeeZero will return it empty – Germany still has only 19 hydrogen fueling stations. If the scheme succeeds in wooing motorists with the benefits of hydrogen fuel-cells, we imagine Linde will be taking the lead on installing more.