London Tourists and Shoppers Seize the Chance to ‘Live Life Unplugged’

With the launch of Upp growing ever closer, we thought that we’d give the British public a taste of life free from the grid. For one week, beginning 22nd September we set up a sneak preview booth in London’s Covent Garden that gave many people their first chance to get ‘hands-on’ with Upp – hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Shoppers and tourists were able to give their smart devices a quick top-up (a godsend in one of the Capital’s biggest tourist hotspots!) or even borrow an Upp while they took in the shopping and sights that London has to offer – simply swipe their card and take the opportunity to live life unplugged for a day. Visitors to the booth were also invited to take an Instagram picture of themselves at the stand, tagged with the hashtag #powerupp which would be insta-printed at the stand.

Alongside our many activities for Upp, we also had the hydrogen-powered fuel cell London Taxi on display. For many people, hydrogen power is something they usually associate with cars and we felt this was a great way to show the versatility of hydrogen fuel cells. What’s more, it perfectly illustrated how Intelligent Energy has miniaturised a technology synonymous with powering vehicles into a handheld consumer product that can be used to power your phone, tablet or camera.

The taxi also served as a handy booth where people could come and share how they feel when their phone battery dies; it’s fair to say that the frustration felt is universal! In fact, here are a few of the responses we received:

  • “Amazing getting the idea from a taxi, Great for the environment, everyone should have one.”
  • “Great that its clean energy, Lots of potential, it can charge more than one variant of devices.”
  • “Very robust, the reversible case is great, the rate of charge is phenomenal.”
  • “Great that its clean energy, Lots of potential, it can charge more than one variant of  devices.”

The response received over the week was genuinely encouraging and only served to reinforce our belief that the world is ready for fuel cell technology – it won’t be long now before it’s in their hands.


Toyota Bringing Hydrogen FCEVs to UK in Summer 2015

The Paris Motor Show began this week with news of Toyota’s intention to bring its Fuel Cell Sedan to Britain, Germany, Denmark and US in summer 2015. This announcement from the world’s largest vehicle manufacturer demonstrates that the imminent roll-out of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) to the consumer is now a reality and will give a welcome boost to efforts elsewhere to introduce these clean but practical electric vehicles.

The UK’s commitment to low emission vehicles is something we experienced first-hand at CENEX Low Carbon Vehicle 2014 last month and has been cited as a major factor as to why Toyota has chosen the UK as one of its ‘test bed’ markets. Already we’re seeing the UK invest in infrastructure to support FCEVs in the shape of the HyFive Project which is bringing refuelling stations to the Capital, also slated for arrival next year.

In Toyota’s own words hydrogen has great potential as an alternative fuel. It can be produced from a wide variety of primary energy sources, including solar and wind power; it is easy to store and transport; and when compressed, it has a higher energy density than batteries.” Moreover, refuelling times, performance and range for FCEVs are all comparable to that of traditional combustion engine vehicles

A landmark announcement from Toyota, but expect to see more from others as the momentum builds towards the widespread roll out FCEVs and the fuelling infrastructure to support them.

Hydrogen Fuelled Taxis For a Zero Emission London

Accounting for roughly 80% of London’s airborne pollution, tackling road traffic emissions is high on the agenda for the city’s leaders. Reported as having some of the worst air quality of any capital city in Europe, London has already launched a number of initiatives to address the challenge. “Boris Bikes”, the “Low Emission Zone”, and on-going upgrades to the public transport network are all geared towards reducing London’s carbon footprint and making its air more fit to breathe.

Last Thursday (16th January), London Mayor, Boris Johnson, announced a significant new measure to further cleaning up London’s act. Targeting what he called the “Achilles heel” of the iconic Black Cab, the new initiative aims to cut out the “pollution generated by chugging diesel engines”.  The mandate stated that all new taxis will be required to be zero-emission capable by 2018 – a significant ask!


Named “New Taxis for London”, the event was host to Intelligent Energy and its partner, The London Taxi Company, and other taxi manufacturers. Showcasing the hydrogen fuel cell powered taxi that made its debut at the 2012 Olympics, Intelligent Energy’s cab was immediately distinguishable, perfectly in keeping with the iconic “black cab” design.


There were some criticisms surrounding the future of purely battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in London from the Green Party. They questioned the limited range of EVs, and the need to plug in at one of 1,300 electric charging points. However, for our hydrogen-fuelled cabbies during the Olympics it was business as usual.

Because the fuel cell taxi is refuelled at the pump by inserting a nozzle, much like refuelling today’s diesel cabs, drivers were able to top up in minutes (not hours) and drive for eight hours or more without having to worry about filling up. The trials have employed just two hydrogen refilling stations, but as few as 25-30 would comfortably cater for London’s entire taxi fleet.

“Having driven taxis for 40 years, this is the smoothest, quietest taxi I have ever driven… it’s absolutely fabulous”           –          Phil Davis & Ashley Blackburn The cabbies’ responses really speak for themselves, highlighting just how viable and practical a replacement they present for our zero emission future.

While 2018 may be the target, the technology is here now; ready to deliver clean and efficient fuel to London’s Black Cabs. Intelligent Energy’s fuel cell taxi boasts the range, performance and practicality of today’s cabs with the quieter travel and zero harmful emissions.

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles and Hydrogen Refuelling – The End of the ‘Chicken and Egg’ Quandary

This week, the German H2 Mobility initiative, of which Intelligent Energy is proud to been an active participant for many years, set upon a 10 year action plan for the construction of a nationwide network of 400 hydrogen refuelling stations for fuel cell powered electric vehicles (FCEVs) across Germany.

The growing need for sustainable, efficient and lower carbon transport solutions means that any commercial roll out of alternative technologies must be closely supported by a practical and viable fuelling infrastructure. The automotive fuel cell technology is ready, as evidenced in the now public plans of the major automotive manufacturers to make their FCEVS widely available to the motoring consumer from 2015.  

As a first step, 100 hydrogen stations will be deployed across Germany over the next 4 years, which will ensure there is a refuelling infrastructure available for when the vehicles come to market.

The objective is to offer a hydrogen fillingstation at least every 90 kilometres of motorway between densely populated areas, which would also create a suitable supply of hydrogen for rural areas. In metropolitan areas, this will amount to at least 10 hydrogen refuelling stations for drivers of FCEVs by 2023. The initiative expects that a total investment of around €350 million will be required to complete this infrastructure project.

In addition to plans for a nationwide filling station network, the agreement includes the principles for the procurement and distribution of the necessary hydrogen and a request for support to the German Federal Government.

ImageHydrogen is a clean energy carrier. When used as fuel in fuel cell systems, it does not produce any carbon emissions (carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, unburned hydrocarbons or particulates). Therefore, using hydrogen will contribute to the decarbonising of road transport and improvement of air quality.

Germany has led the development of hydrogen refuelling networks in Europe, having launched its H2 Mobility initiative in 2009. It currently has 15 hydrogen stations and opened Europe’s largest hydrogen refuelling station in early 2012, capable of delivering 750 kg of hydrogen per day, with half of the station’s hydrogen produced on-site via water electrolysis

Similar projects have been launched in the UK and France, amongst others, with a view to the establishment of nationwide networks of hydrogen refuelling stations and helping to make this zero emission, yet practical means of electric motoring a commercial reality and success.

New ULEV strategy to stimulate the UK economy


Last week, we attended the Low Carbon Vehicle (LCV) 2013 event, the highlight of which was the attendance of the Transport Minister, Norman Baker, who arrived in our very own fuel cell taxi. He used the event as a platform to launch the government’s strategy to drive forward the ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) industry.

Baker announced that an extra £500M in new funding will be made available for the introduction of ULEVs, and amongst the main aims of the government set out in the strategy, is an exploration of the options for a new network of hydrogen refuelling stations to support introduction of fuel cell electric vehicles in the UK

“The new strategy signals a major change in the way vehicles will be powered in the future and demonstrates a strong commitment and investment support from the government towards reducing carbon emissions and air pollution on our roads. Our vision is that by 2050 almost every car and van will be an ultra-low emission vehicle with the UK at the forefront of their design, development and manufacture,” said Baker.

This investment is significant for the British transport industry. Many automotive manufacturers have already committed to the production of clean emission vehicles from 2014 and the extra funding injected into this project will accelerate the deployment of these vehicles and ensure there is an existing infrastructure for it to thrive. This will guarantee that the UK is on track to becoming a low carbon economy as well as further strengthening the UK automotive industry.

The strategy sets out government’s five main aims:

  • Supporting the early market for ULEVs:
    • through plug in grants or other consumer incentives – providing certainty for investors and consumers
    • by raising awareness of the benefits with a government and manufacturer-run campaign
    • by encouraging higher uptake in the public sector
  • Shaping the necessary infrastructure:
    • by providing investment for the installation of charge-points in homes, railway stations and public sector car parks and rapid charge points for longer journeys
    • exploring options for a new network of hydrogen refuelling stations to support introduction of fuel cell electric vehicles in the UK
  • Securing the right regulatory and fiscal measures:
    • by maintaining tax incentives for the purchase of ULEVs until at least 2020
    • clarifying the tax position on ULEVs and providing more information for fleet managers on costs
    • working to secure ambitious but realistic EU emissions targets
  • Investing in UK automotive capability:
    • by working with the Automotive Council to develop and strengthen the ULEV supply chain and discussions with the industry on where to target research and development funding
    • by working with partners to maximise the benefits of the UK’s move to ULEVs
    • by offering £10 million prize to develop a new long-life battery for next generation ULEVs
  • Preparing the energy sector:
    • by ensuring the forthcoming national household roll-out of smart meters will support plug-in vehicle charging

For more information on the strategy, please see the press release on Gov.UK.

Hydrogen for Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles Gains Momentum in France


Following on from the success of the H2Mobility initiatives in Germany and Great Britain (the latter has already published its first full report), to support the commercial introduction of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), July saw the launch of the ‘Mobilité Hydrogène France’ initiative.  The consortium, which currently consists of twenty partner members, plans to combine forces and expertise to produce an economically competitive and supported deployment plan for a private and public hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in France between 2015 and 2030.

Work is already well underway, with regional, national and international private and public stakeholders collaborating with the French Association for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells (“AFHyPaC”) with a view to publishing initial results in late 2013.  Supported by the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, the group will work to share knowledge and expertise in order to develop coordinated deployment scenarios for vehicles and hydrogen stations, and to emphasise the clear benefits and costs of this transition.

Hydrogen and fuel cells offer great potential for the deployment of electric vehicles in Europe against a backdrop of growing urbanisation, whether Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) or Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV).  With global pressures to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality in our cities, the high efficiency and zero CO2 vehicles offer clear benefits both for the automotive sector as well as society as a whole.

Intelligent Energy along with all of the initiative’s partners is proud to be contributing to improving the energy landscape for future generations.

Introducing – New Energy World Industry Grouping

ImageThere have been several innovative steps taken by public and private organisations in order to meet the EU’s 80% carbon reduction target by 2050. Fuel cells and hydrogen continue to play a major role in this effort but further investment in these technologies is needed if the EU is to have a sustainable carbon-neutral future.

One of the organisations leading the charge in this area is the New Energy World Industry Grouping (NEW-IG). NEW-IG is a leading European industrial association dedicated to the market deployment of fuel cells and hydrogen technologies. It brings together more than 60 innovative companies with a joint ambition to contribute to a cleaner, healthier and more prosperous life-environment for European citizens. Intelligent Energy has been part of the NEW-IG since its inception in 2008. Henri Winand, CEO of Intelligent Energy, is currently serving his second term as Treasurer of the Grouping.

As its core activity, NEW-IG acts as the private partner in the European programme for Fuel Cells and Hydrogen, the so called “Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking”. This public-private scheme provides a unique platform for cooperation, much-needed long-term stability for investment and concrete support for a portfolio of circa 150 projects. The continuation of the programme under Horizon 2020, the new European innovation framework, is currently being discussed. To ensure Europe has a strong and efficient programme until 2020, NEW-IG has worked closely with the European Commission to collect necessary data and provide expert input on this proposal.

NEW-IG is also actively engaged with policymakers to shape legislation for the adoption of hydrogen and fuel cell technology. It organises high-level meetings with key European decision-makers, such as the EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger in 2012, or events that help Members of the European Parliament understand what innovative technologies can do for the European economy. The “Drive ‘n’ Ride” projects are prime examples. Since 2008, it has been offering opportunities to experience hydrogen and fuel cell technology first-hand, through test-drives of fuel cell powered electric vehicles (FCEVs).

The drastic carbon reduction of the energy and transport sectors will require tremendous effort, substantial investment and close cooperation between the public and the private sectors, and all at a time of high economic and environmental uncertainty in Europe. Organisations such as NEW-IG are leading the way to secure a clean energy future.

More about the Drive ‘n’ Ride project & images:

More about NEW-IG:

UKH2Mobility publishes its full report on the future of FCEVs in the UK


Last week, the UKH2Mobility project published its full report on the potential of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) in the UK. The report provides further details and background to the findings published on 4 February 2013 – Future of Hydrogen Powered Cars Mapped by the UKH2Mobility Project.

The UKH2Mobility project brings together leading businesses from the automotive, energy, infrastructure and retail sectors with government, and provides a ‘roadmap’ for the introduction of vehicles and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in the UK.

Co-founded by Intelligent Energy, UKH2Mobility is a ground breaking industry led task force, which includes twelve industry participants, together with three UK government departments – The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, The Department for Transport and the Department for Energy and Climate Change in addition to the European Fuel Cells & Hydrogen Joint Undertaking.

Key findings of the roadmap show, that by 2030:

  • FCEVs will be at least cost-competitive with conventional vehicles
  • A network of 1,150 HRS can cover the whole country
  • 1.6 million FCEVs could be on UK roads
  • The HRS network is past its break-even point
  • Hydrogen production and retailing can be an attractive and profitable business, leading to the natural growth of the HRS network as the FCEV fleet grows
  • CO2 emissions (including fuel production) can be 75% lower for FCEVs than for equivalent diesel vehicles, and on a trajectory to zero CO2 emissions by 2050
  • FCEVs will be on course to reach a 20-50% market share, in line with the DECC 2050 Pathway Analysis.

Welcoming the publication of the report, Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon said: “Securing new economic opportunities for the UK, diversifying our national energy supply and driving down carbon emissions go to the heart of my job in government. The findings of the report demonstrate hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles can have a real impact on all three.

“It is very positive that all the UKH2Mobility partners will be joining us in the next phase of the project where they will be joined by Sainsbury’s. Successful commercialisation of the technology will require government to work in strong partnership with industry.

“Prompt action is needed to ensure the potential benefits are realised by businesses and consumers in the UK and work on the next phase will start straight away”.

The next few years are critical to the commercialisation of FCEVs and hydrogen refuelling in the UK. A number of major carmakers, specifically in Japan, are already targeting to make FCEVs available to the public by 2015.

The UK Government has stated its desire for the UK to be at the global forefront of the design, development, manufacture and use of ULEVs. This reports shows that the UK’s automotive sector is well positioned to take a role in the commercialisation of FCEV and hydrogen refuelling technologies.

The second phase of the UKH22Mobility project, to be completed in 2013, will build on the fact base produced in the first phase. It aims to develop the integrated business case for realising all parts of the roadmap and address key barriers to the introduction of FCEVs to the UK.

Click here to read the full report.

Outlook for 2013 (Part 2): Automotive – Alternative Power

ImageIn the second part of our outlook series, we take a look at the emergence of the fuel cell electric alternative for the automotive industry.

Tailpipe emissions are responsible for numerous environmental and public health issues. As such, European Union legislation sets mandatory emission reduction targets for new cars. This legislation is the cornerstone of the EU’s strategy to improve the fuel economy of new cars sold on the European market.

The European Commission’s Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050 has agreed to cut emissions to 80% below 1990 levels through domestic reductions alone. The roadmap set outs various milestones, which form a pathway towards reaching this goal – reductions of 40% by 2030 and 60% by 2040. However, the move towards to low carbon society by 2050 will require a 95% decarbonisation of the road transport sector.

As it stands, the number of passenger cars is set to rise to 273 million in Europe – and to 2.5 billion worldwide by 2050. As such, full decarbonisation will not be achievable through improvements in the traditional internal combustion engine or the use of alternative fuels alone.

To date, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) have been the more popular of the alternative power solutions. However, ultra low-carbon electric power-trains featuring hydrogen fuel cells provide one of the most promising, practical and efficient options..

In recent months, a number of carmakers have bolstered their commitment to develop a commercially available fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV). Pike predicts that about 3,500 units will be shipped from the likes of Toyota, Daimler, Hyundai and Honda – primarily to companies that manage public and private fleets. Beyond 2013, Nissan has announced the TeRRA concept, a hydrogen fuel cell powered SUV; Mercedes is planning its fuel cell debut for 2014 with the B-Class F-CELL compact; Toyota and Hyundai have revealed they will release their fuel cell cars in 2015 with the FCV-R and ix35 respectively.

The advantage of fuel cell cars is shorter fuelling times and greater range. A battery-powered car will tend to have a limited real-world range and can take many hours to charge. In contrast a fuel cell car be driven for hundreds of miles and refuelled in minutes at the pump – much like conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. In short, FCEVs provide practical zero tail-pipe emission electric vehicles, with performances similar to existing vehicles, which do not require significant changes to consumers’ motoring behaviour, routine and performance expectations.

In a survey of carmaker executives conducted by KPMG, respondents expected that among electric vehicles, hybrids will have the highest customer demand by 2025, followed by FCEVs, outdoing the demand of battery only-powered cars.

Hydrogen fuel cell cars in the fast lane


This week, CNN reported that the battery-powered vehicle is soon to be overtaken by its clean tech counterpart, the hydrogen fuel cell car.

In recent months, a number of carmakers have bolstered their commitment to develop a commercially available fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV). Nissan has announced the TeRRA concept, a hydrogen fuel cell powered SUV; Mercedes is planning its fuel cell debut for 2014 with the B-Class F-CELL compact; Toyota and Hyundai have revealed they will release their fuel cell cars in 2015 with the FCV-R and ix35 respectively.  

The advantage of fuel cell cars is shorter fuelling times and greater range. A battery-powered car will tend to have a limited real-world range and can take up to several hours to charge on a home-charging station. In contrast a fuel cell car be driven for hundreds of miles and refuelled at the pump – much like conventional internal combustion engine vehicles.

In a survey of carmaker executives conducted by KPMG, respondents expected that among electric vehicles, hybrids will have the highest customer demand by 2025, followed by FCEVs, outdoing the demand of battery-powered cars.

The Carbon Trust’s report on the fuel cell industry echoes this trend, stating that a continued focus on technology innovation could make fuel cell cars cost competitive with internal combustion engine, forming a third of all vehicles on the road by 2050.

Whatever the growth in consumer demand might be, the commercial viability of FCEVs make them a compelling prospect.