In the interests of climate protection, Heidelberg is promoting the use of vehicles with innovative drive systems. To this end, the city is focusing on the fuel cell. The city council has now put the first vehicles of this type into operation: Lord Mayor Prof. Würzner and Environmental Mayor Wolfgang Erichson will now each use a fuel cell vehicle for their official journeys.

The two new vehicles concerned are a Hyundai Nexo and a Toyota Mirai. Oliver Voigt from Autohaus Dechent and Andreas Bender, Managing Directors at the car dealership Autohaus Spiegelhalder+Heiler, handed over the cars on Wednesday, 12 December 2018, at a press event at the Alte Brücke. Accompanying this, the “H2 Mobility” group of companies will commission a hydrogen filling station in Heidelberg in the first half of 2019 with the support of the German government. Until then, hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles can be refuelled in Hirschberg.

The procurement of the vehicles will be funded within the scope of the National Innovation Program Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP) with a total of 50 percent of the additional costs, jointly amounting to 66,500 euros for a Toyota Mirai and two Hyundai Nexos. The implementation of the funding guideline is coordinated by NOW GmbH.

Masterplan “Sustainable Mobility”

The changeover of the vehicle fleet is part of the Masterplan “Sustainable Mobility for the City” (Nachhaltige Mobilität für die Stadt), which the cities of Mannheim, Heidelberg and Ludwigshafen have jointly developed. The German government is supporting several measures of this plan with funds from the “Clean Air” (Saubere Luft) programme for immediate action.

In the medium term, the city will additionally acquire 22 new e-vehicles – passenger cars and light commercial vehicles – and together with the municipal utilities, will also further expand the charging infrastructure. Here, too, the federal government has already approved funding totalling approximately 575,000 euros. In 2019, the first electrically driven street sweeper will also be procured for the historical city centre.

“Environmentally friendly mobility” support programme: attractive incentives

Heidelberg has played a pioneering role in switching to innovative technologies from as early as 2005. As part of the “Environmentally Friendly Mobility” (Umweltfreundlich mobil) support programme, the city is providing a financial support of up to 1,000 euros for citizens who purchase an electric, hybrid or natural gas vehicle. In total, the city has supported the purchase of 403 environmentally friendly vehicles to date: 174 natural gas vehicles (supported since 2005), 190 hybrid and 39 electric vehicles (supported since 2011). In addition to this, a further 87 grants of up to 500 euros (since 2017) are available for cargo bikes and trailers. Furthermore, the switch from passenger cars to local public transport has been promoted since January 2016. To date, 234 yearly tickets for local public transport each worth 1,018 euros have already been issued to citizens who have voluntarily deregistered their vehicle.

The funding programme has become even more attractive since December 1, 2018: anyone purchasing a hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle will receive up to 10,000 euros from the city. This makes Heidelberg the first city in Germany to offer such comprehensive incentives. And for those who set up publicly accessible charging infrastructure, the city reimburses 50 percent of the eligible costs (maximum 10,000 euros). Further information can be found at [in German only].