The signing ceremony took place at the Electric Vehicles Symposium 32 (EVS32) at Lyon Eurexpo on 21 May.
Zero Emission Valley
Under the terms of a new agreement, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and the Banque des Territoires have acquired a 49 per cent stake in Hympulsion as part of a unique public-partnership that will see the Michelin Group, ENGIE and Crédit Agricole (the world's largest cooperative financial institution) own a controlling 51 per cent stake.
Hympulsion is now operational and will help speed up deployment of Zero Emission Valley – France's first renewable hydrogen-driven mobility project for professional captive fleets (1000 vehicles and 20 stations). Co-financed by European funds, this project provides vehicles and renewable hydrogen at an overall cost that is on a par with diesel.
The foundation stone of the Chambéry station will be laid in June with general opening is scheduled in the final quarter of 2019. A temporary station will be opened in Clermont-Ferrand at the end of August 2019. Then, future stations will be opened across ten areas, including Lyon, Grenoble and Saint-Etienne. Meanwhile, subsidies will be awarded both by Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and the European Union to cover the purchase of the one thousand vehicles. Hympulsion has already been awarded at the Assises Européennes de l’Energie (European energy conference) and its finance application is being managed by the ADEME (France’s energy management agency) within the framework of the “H2 mobility – hydrogen mobility ecosystems” call for tenders.
The consortium believes the solution, which is expected to provide 25 per cent of all vehicles under France's ambitious national hydrogen plan by 2023, will fulfil three key challenges:
- Environmental, since renewable hydrogen-driven mobility will improve air quality over the nine priority areas.
- Industrial, since 80% of the hydrogen sector stakeholders are in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes; developing hydrogen-driven mobility will give momentum to this premium sector and help ensure its longevity. The challenge is to produce hydrogen systems on a high scale that meet zero-carbon requirements and to develop hydrogen-powered vehicles at costs that are on a par with diesel.
- Economic, since not only will the project generate jobs in the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes… it will also enable regional training centres to provide young people with support in accessing the clean-mobility jobs of the future and securing employment in the zero-carbon industry.
Commenting on the project, Laurent Wauquiez, President of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, said:
"The dynamic nature of the sector in our territory and the powerful synergies of Hympulsion with the public and private sectors will turn Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes into France’s leading hydrogen area. We will become the catalyst for the introduction of this new technology in Europe. With Zero Emission Valley, we will be able to prove that taking up climate change challenges will boost job creation."
Michelin CEO, Florent Menegaux, added:
"Michelin is absolutely certain that hydrogen-driven mobility is the best solution for taking up these three challenges: reducing pollution, reducing greenhouse gases and facilitating the energy transition. For more than 15 years, we have been developing our research and development expertise and have been industrialising hydrogen batteries. We have entered into a number of ambitious partnerships across the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in particular. Our involvement in the ZEV project is obviously a strategic benefit for Michelin."
Franck Bruel, ENGIE deputy CEO, further added:
"The ZEV project in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is evidence of ENGIE’s concrete commitment to helping cities, regions and companies across the world in their zero-carbon energy transitions. As an ambitious forerunner, we are working very closely alongside all public and private partners to turn completely renewable hydrogen into a reality that everybody can take advantage of."