Over 100 leading vehicle manufacturers, fleets and energy companies have called on EU member states not to delay or dilute the European Commission’s proposal to set binding national targets for hydrogen refuelling infrastructure under the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR).

The AFIR is the key piece of EU legislation to ensure sufficient deployment of public infrastructure needed to decarbonise mobility such as electric vehicle charging points and hydrogen stations.

Companies including BMW, Daimler, Hyundai, Iveco and Linde argue that ambitious binding targets for building hydrogen refuelling infrastructure are key to tackling climate action. Decarbonisation, they say, extends beyond the electrification of vehicles.

In an open letter to EU policymakers, the companies said, “We are strongly convinced that a widely available hydrogen refuelling stations (HRS) network, alongside other low-emission refuelling, and recharging infrastructures, will be essential for a rapid transition of the road transport sector. Hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are particularly interesting for customers with preferences for fast refuelling and for whom flexibility is paramount.”

They claim a multi-technology approach will ensure the transition to zero emission transport is faster, more cost-efficient and serves all business models, than focusing solely on electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

“A rollout of both HRS and battery electric vehicles (BEV) charging infrastructures will be cheaper than relying solely on one type of infrastructure or restricting specific technologies to specific road transport segments.”

The companies have set out a timeline for hydrogen refuelling infrastructure that would see a hydrogen station every 200km by 2025, and every 100km by 2027.

Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, Hydrogen Europe CEO, commented, “The AFIR targets for hydrogen refuelling stations are the bare minimum for hydrogen road mobility to develop and in turn help decarbonise the sector, which is responsible for 20% of the EU greenhouse gas emissions. The industry stands ready to invest along with public authorities into the technology and the rollout of hydrogen infrastructure. However, adequate political commitments are instrumental in sending a strong signal for both automotive and hydrogen infrastructure companies. Reducing the mandatory minimum capacities of stations and shrinking the ambition will seriously harm the sector’s development.”