The HyTrust project researched the effects on society resulting from the introduction of hydrogen and fuel cell technology in the mobility sector. The project focused on questions regarding the acceptance of the technology and about the trust that the public places in the players driving this technology.
It was undertaken by a consortium comprising the Unabhängige Institut für Umweltfragen (UfU — Independent Institute for Environmental Issues), the Innovationszentrum für Mobilität und gesellschaftlichen Wandel GmbH (InnoZ — Innovation Centre for Mobility and Social Change), the GCF — Global Climate Forum, Spilett New Technologies and the Institute for Transportation Design (ITD).
Overall more than 2,500 citizens as well as other relevant stakeholders of society were involved in the project. Opinions and perceptions on the subject were examined through surveys, focus groups and individual interviews. Moreover, a citizens’ conference provided opportunity for interested parties to engage in discussions and exchange ideas on the subject, supported by experts. The climate protection potential of hydrogen vehicles and economic incentive mechanisms for the purchase of such vehicles were modelled. Finally, suitable images, visions and day-to-day scenarios for communicating the technology to the public were developed.
It could be shown that the German population boasts a general openness towards hydrogen mobility. The general public opinion of the subject is one of innovation and environmental friendliness. From the public’s point of view, the environmental friendliness aspect of hydrogen vehicles is the key added value over conventional vehicles. The hydrogen used must therefore be »green« from the outset. Currently, the general public in Germany has no safety concerns towards hydrogen vehicles or hydrogen filling stations. Yet they are also currently not prepared to pay a premium for a hydrogen vehicle compared to a conventional vehicle.