Alternative drives on the upswing

  • Currently registered battery vehicles: approx. 116,000 (+78.7 per cent in 12 months)
  • Strong growth in charging and tank infrastructure for renewable fuels
  • Hydrogen: clear increase in passenger cars, buses and trains
  • Strong interest in support for LNG-powered seagoing vessels
  • NOW GmbH expands international activities

Hannover/Berlin, 23 April 2018 – The market ramp-up of alternative drives and fuels in the mobility sector is progressing at an ever-faster pace. Over the past twelve months alone, the number of battery-powered vehicles registered has risen by almost 80 per cent. There is also significant movement in the expansion of the corresponding infrastructure for alternative fuels. The number of hydrogen refuelling stations has doubled and investment in the expansion of a nationwide network of charging points is rising continuously. NOW Managing Director Dr. Klaus Bonhoff: “The tipping point, from which a development experiences a significant acceleration, has been reached for electric mobility in the world’s most important markets. We must now push ahead with the integration of renewable energy into our energy system – including the transport sector – and establish the corresponding added value in Germany”.

NOW GmbH National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology has been coordinating national strategies and public-private programmes in the field of sustainable drives since 2008. These include, in particular, electric mobility with fuel cells and batteries, but also natural gas and electricity-based fuels, as well as the introduction and market ramp-up of fuel cell technology in the stationary sector.

BMVI Electric Mobility Funding Guideline with a focus on municipalities

The key procurers, fleet operators and municipalities, invest in emission-free mobility. This is confirmed by approximately 160 procurement and 130 concept applications received by the BMVI “On-site Electric Mobility” (Elektromobilität vor Ort) programme. 2,500 fleet vehicles and 600 charging infrastructure units that are required for their operation have been approved to date. As at March 2018, 4.25 per cent of newly-registered passenger cars in Germany were (partially) electric, i.e. around 55,000 vehicles. In total, 62,963 pure battery-electric passenger cars and 52,866 plug-in hybrids are registered. The BMVI support programmes are making a significant contribution to the market ramp-up of electric vehicles.

Charging infrastructure: customer-oriented expansion continues

The evaluation of the first call for funding in the “Charging Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles” federal programme is now available: with a total of 808 approved applications and more than 7,000 normal and 1,600 fast-charging points, the number of approved charging points is well above expectations. In total, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI – Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur) has earmarked 45 million euros for the first call for funding for the construction of fast-charging and normal charging stations. The further customer-oriented development of infrastructure for alternative fuels is being supported by the development of a location tool through which reliable data on specific user behaviour can then be incorporated in the planning.

NIP: More hydrogen refuelling stations, more fuel cell vehicles

The expansion of the hydrogen refuelling station network in Germany is progressing. Today, the network already comprises 43 stations, and a further 43 refuelling stations are currently under construction and in the planning stage. By 2019, there are to be 100 refuelling stations available to support the market launch of fuel cell vehicles. Since 2016, the number of passenger cars has doubled to around 500, partly thanks to support from the German government’s National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP). The number of buses is also increasing: several public transport companies in Germany are purchasing a total of more than 60 fuel cell buses. The NIP is currently focusing on the development of fuel cell stack production in order to secure value-added segments and jobs for Germany. The local public transport company of Lower Saxony has ordered 14 fuel cell trains for its regional transport services. Further hydrogen trains are also planned for routes in the state of Hesse.

With funding support for cars, buses and trains for public transport, the NIP covers all modes of transport. In addition, fuel cell heating systems were introduced to the market in this programme through the promotion of development projects and field tests, such as CALLUX. Since September 2016, the such systems have been funded under the KfW Programme 433, the “Energy-efficient construction and renovation – fuel cell subsidy” (Energieeffizient Bauen und Sanieren – Zuschuss Brennstoffzelle). According to the KfW Annual Report, by the end of 2017, more than 1,900 funding approvals had been granted for fuel cell heating systems. In addition, NIP II also provides support for fuel cell systems for the autonomous energy supply of critical or off-grid infrastructures. The call for funding has a volume of 5 million euros, which will enable the funding of approx. 500 to 600 fuel cell-based emergency power systems.

Climate-friendly ships with liquefied natural gas (LNG)

With the promotion of LNG as a marine fuel, another way of reducing greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions is being supported. The funding guideline of August 17, 2017, for the equipping and conversion of seagoing ships to use LNG as a marine fuel will promote the introduction of LNG in the German shipping sector. The aim of the guideline is to increase the demand for LNG as a marine fuel in Germany in order to provide incentives for the development of the corresponding LNG supply infrastructure in ports. In the first call for submissions, 17 companies submitted one or more applications. This response confirms the great interest that exists in the use of LNG in shipping.

NOW expands international activities

As part of the export initiative of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU – Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und nukleare Sicherheit), NOW and the German development agency Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have agreed to jointly establish a network in emerging and developing countries in order to promote projects for the climate-friendly use of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. In the wake of this assignment that was commissioned by the BMU, NOW is also expanding its partnerships with Japan in the field of power-to-gas technologies. In addition, with the establishment of the Sino-German Electro-Mobility Innovation and Support Center (SGEC), cooperation between Germany and China has also become strengthened on an institutional level.