The World's First Fuel Cell Car Sharing Program Launches In Germany
12 April 2016 - Autoblog
As EVs become increasingly mainstream, they seem to have found a natural home in carsharing services.
BlueIndy has left its mark on Indianapolis, Ford has been testing its own EV sharing programs, Japan and China have seen their share of programs pop up, electric carsharing is helping low-income neighborhoods in Los Angeles, and more models continue to emerge. On the flip side, Car2go made news recently when it pulled EVs from its fleet in San Diego. Absent from the carsharing scene, though, have been hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. But even that is changing.
In Munich, Germany, industrial gases company (think hydrogen) Linde has launched BeeZero, a carsharing service comprised completely of fuel cell vehicles. The fleet is made up of Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell crossovers (called the ix35 Fuel Cell in Europe). It's the first hydrogen-powered carsharing service in the world, and Bavaria just happens to be a hub for hydrogen research and technology.
Beezero, a new subsidiary of Linde, begins public service this summer with a fleet of 50 Tucson Fuel Cells. It offers users on-demand access to zero-emissions driving, but without the range limitations of battery electric vehicles. These H2-powered Hyundais can travel over 370 miles on a single tank, offering more flexibility to travel to the surrounding areas. If users want to visit the nearby lakes or mountains, they'll also have room to cart their gear with them.
Drivers will be able to reserve a car online or through a smartphone app, and vehicles will be available in various zones in and around the city of Munich. As for the hydrogen used to fuel the fleet, Linde creates it from sustainable sources, promising carbon-neutral voyages.
While the public gets access to hydrogen-powered mobility, Linde gets to learn from the experience. "We expect to gain valuable information from day-to-day fleet operations which we will use to further develop our hydrogen technologies and to help expand the hydrogen infrastructure," says Linde Executive Board member Dr. Christian Bruch. "BeeZero synergises two mobility trends that are gaining a lot of ground at the moment – car sharing and zero emissions – and will bring the benefits of fuel cell technology to a wider group of potential users." Read more in the press release below.