The hydrogen batteries determined
to upgrade electric cars

The hydrogen batteries determined to upgrade electric cars

H2GO project extends range of electric cars by up to 160 kilometres

Electric cars have been gaining in popularity like never before, some even say Europe is in the midst of its electric car revolution, but challenges like cost and limited charging infrastructure in some cities are still putting some off making the switch from conventional motorised cars.

The so-called ‘range anxiety’ is the fear that an electric vehicle will not have enough battery charge to reach its destination, fears over range can often be used as the main objection to electric cars. Alke’ with its project H2GO hopes to get rid of this issue. It’s created hydrogen-fuelled battery electric vehicles as a safe and reliable alternative to electric vehicles, the technology combined with lithium batteries can take electric cars an extra 160 kilometres further. The H2GO vehicles have reduced battery pack sizes and allow for a quick refill process, this all while keeping emissions low.

The project, which is funded by EIT Urban Mobility, brings together a consortium of industry, local government and research partners, the Head of Business Development at Alke’, Lamberto Salvan explained that “working as a team gives  bigger result, as Alke’, it was impossible to reach the result like today but joining the forces together (…) was the key to deliver something that was not possible to do alone.

The vehicles are to be used in urban settings, “focusing on the professional sector meaning non-passenger cars (…) the vehicles can be oriented to service, waste management and activities for the public sector. They can be used inside industrial facilities (…) where a flexible amount of autonomy is needed.” Salvan said.

For the service industries, the Hydrogen-fuelled battery will ensure continuous work cycles, eliminating the need for unnecessary charging breaks, therefore boosting productivity.

A H2GO prototype, a vehicle that is both hydrogen and electricity powered, has been made, but the team “already has a roadmap to go out with a commercial product”, based on feedback from the prototype. The model was presented in the Italian city of Rimini and the interest received was “huge, much, much higher than expected.”

Hydrogen holds a massively untapped potential as fuel, Salvan hopes that in the future Alke’ “sees an industrialisation of solution based on hydrogen and battery based vehicles and bring it a larger market.”

The innovation officer at EIT urban mobility, Itzel Obregon, believes that “hydrogen is a component of the energy mix needed for cities to achieve their net-zero targets and hydrogen will play an important role in the transport and mobility sector.” 

She says “The EU is lagging behind in the adoption of hydrogen, and they need to speed up the transition and adopt this to ensure their future energy independence(…) we need to increase the supply and demand of hydrogen mobility.”

Venice is one of H2GO’s big partners; the city has been “on the frontline for decarbonisation, '' says Francesco Guaraldi, a mobility expert at the Modena Agency for Sustainable Development. Venice has “already invested a lot of resources in hydrogen filling stations.'' The city is considered to be one of the World Heritage sites most at-risk from climate change. It makes sense that Venice, Guaraldi says, “be the champion in identifying the solution for this transition to a more sustainable way of living.” Venice is famous the world over for its heritage, and it’s been “interested in green technology, to respect the value of the” city, explains Lamberto Salvan. He believes the launch of H2GO in Venice is key for advertising this solution to other “similar case studies and cities.”