Chinese official: Fuel cell vehicles are suitable for commercial vehicles at present

On January 13, 2020, in response to the “Support for the Development of Fuel Cell Vehicle Industry” proposed in this year’s “Government Work Report” in Beijing, Gao Yunhu, a representative of Beijing Municipal People ’s Congress and director of the Department of Energy Conservation and Comprehensive Utilization of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said in an interview with Beijing Business Daily that fuel cells are a direction for the development of the automotive industry.

Beijing has a good foundation in developing fuel cell vehicle industries. Gao Yunhu suggested that the cost of fuel cell vehicles is high and the safety risk of hydrogen refueling stations built in urban areas is high. Therefore, fuel cell vehicles are more suitable for commercial vehicle applications at the current stage.

It is understood that a fuel cell vehicle is a vehicle that uses an on-board fuel cell device to generate electricity as power. It has the advantages of zero pollution, fast hydrogenation, and endurance. Unlike ordinary electric vehicles, which use power from rechargeable batteries, fuel cell vehicles use power from on-board fuel cell devices. Generally speaking, the fuel used in a vehicle-mounted fuel cell device is a high-hydrogen reformed gas obtained by reforming high-purity hydrogen or a hydrogen-containing fuel.

Gao Yunhu said that at present, Beijing has stepped up its efforts to develop the fuel cell vehicle industry, and fuel cell vehicles have already had some demonstration applications. Compared with electric vehicles that have shorter cruising range and are more suitable for use in urban areas, fuel cell vehicles are more suitable for commercial vehicle applications, including buses and long-distance trucks.

As one of the key promotion areas for new energy vehicles in China, Beijing applied fuel cell vehicles early. In 2008, Foton Auv’s (福田欧辉) first-generation hydrogen fuel cell bus provided services for the Beijing Olympics. In 2018, Foton Auv’s fourth-generation 10.5m hydrogen fuel cell city bus won the bid for Zhangjiakou’s hydrogen fuel bus. In January 2019, Foton Motor signed a cooperation agreement with State Power Investment Corporation and SinoHytec (亿华通) for the demonstration and promotion of hydrogen energy transportation in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, announcing that they will jointly provide hydrogen-fueled vehicle travel services during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

“Developing fuel cell vehicles is an extremely complex system project. To move from demonstration applications to large-scale industrialization, a process is needed.” Gao Yunhu said that because the technology is not yet fully mature, related companies in the industry chain need to solve fuel cells. The high cost and low efficiency of vehicles, and the greater safety risks of hydrogen refueling stations. To solve these problems, relevant companies need to increase their scientific and technological innovation and work hard on core and key technologies. In addition, government departments should increase support for the fuel cell vehicle industry in all aspects.

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