March 17th, 2023 | 19:17 CET
First Hydrogen, Volkswagen, Daimler Truck - The unstoppable energy transition, who is winning the race?
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"[...] We can convert buses and trucks to be completely climate neutral. In doing so, we take a modular and incremental approach. That means we can work with all current vehicle types and respond to new technology and innovation [...]" Dirk Graszt, CEO, Clean Logistics SE
Born in Bielefeld, she studied German, English and psychology. The emergence of the Internet in the early '90s led her from university to training in graphic design and marketing communications. After years of agency work in corporate branding, she switched to publishing and learned her editorial craft at Hubert Burda Media.
First Hydrogen welcomes Ballard Power as a new partner
The logistics industry is a fundamental part of global trade and saw impressive growth in 2021. Valued at over EUR 8.4 billion, it is a major industry that will continue to expand in the coming years. Experts predict that the industry will reach a value of EUR 13.7 billion by 2027.
While the on-site department stores of chains such as Galeria are dying out in German city centres, logistics providers from large e-commerce platforms are increasingly driving orders directly to customers' homes. Whether Amazon or logistics companies like DHL or DPD, they all use vans for this form of logistics.
Canadian company First Hydrogen is pioneering the energy transition in this area and is launching a pilot project in the UK. First Hydrogen vehicles are being used by major fleet operators who have decided to use zero-emission hydrogen-powered LCVs. Fifteen fleet operators have joined the UK's Aggregated Hydrogen Freight Consortium (AHFC), and one will soon go on a test drive with First Hydrogen.
Ballard Power is a global leader in innovative fuel cell solutions for clean energy. Ballard has now partnered with First Hydrogen to develop innovative hydrogen-based LCVs. These Generation I vehicles are unique and rely on a combination of Ballard's latest LCS fuel cell stack and First Hydrogen's proprietary technology.
The soon-to-be-launched tests will allow commercial operators across various industries - including food delivery, express services, utilities and roadside assistance - to compare and test hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles alongside their existing fleets.
Volkswagen: Audi boss needs more time to implement energy transition
Quite different tones are coming from the Volkswagen Group on the subject of the drive system transformation and the switch to clean energies. Audi will decide by the end of the year whether to expand production capacity in the US, Markus Duesmann, CEO of the premium brand, said at its annual press conference on Thursday.
He added that the proposed Euro 7 law, which tightens limits on harmful emissions, needs to be changed. There would not be enough time for the group to implement everything by 2025, he said.
Audi, a Volkswagen Group company, expects sales to rise to EUR 69-72 billion in 2023, up from EUR 61.8 billion the previous year. However, a more conservative profit margin is expected as higher costs will impact profit. This forecast shows that Audi is optimistic about the future and remains focused on growth, despite challenges in the industry.
Audi's premium brand is expanding its range of battery-powered cars to catch up with competitors who are leading the way in electric vehicle sales. By 2025, ten new electric vehicle models will be launched on the market, Audi CEO Duesmann further details.
The automaker is currently working on its last generation of internal combustion engine vehicles. From 2026 onwards, only electric cars will be launched on the market, and from 2033 onwards, the end of combustion engines is to be sealed.
Daimler Truck electrifies Germany's Hamburg metropolitan region
Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg Holstein (VHH) is enabling Daimler Truck to win a major new contract: VHH is focusing on electromobility and is putting environmentally friendly buses on the roads of the Hamburg metropolitan region with the Mercedes-Benz eCitaro. This step is an important contribution to reducing emissions and improving air quality in the region. VHH is thus demonstrating its commitment to a sustainable future and providing innovative solutions for local public transport. The electrification of the bus fleet is a big step in the right direction and a role model for other transport companies.
Daimler Truck delivered more than 520,291 trucks and buses worldwide last year. That is an increase of 14% over 2021. Most recently, the commercial vehicle division reached the 500,000 mark in the pre-Corona year of 2018. The largest sales came from North America, followed by Europe with the Mercedes-Benz brand and Asia.
VHH Managing Director Dr Lorenz Kasch comments: "VHH is a key driver of the transport revolution in the Hamburg metropolitan region. We have a clear vision: In the 2030s, we want to be locally emission-free on the road. To achieve this goal, we are now expanding our e-bus fleet in large steps. The major orders placed with MAN Truck & Bus and Daimler Buses represent a real milestone on the road to becoming an e-mobile company."
Innovative companies like First Hydrogen are gaining strategic advantages through strong partners like Ballard Power. Their lean size allows them to implement hydrogen test projects much more quickly than large corporations like Volkswagen. Audi, in particular, is under pressure to switch production from combustion engines to zero-emission drives. Daimler Truck, on the other hand, is continuing to expand its market position and is helping Germany's second-largest city and its surrounding region to convert to low-emission drive systems.
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