It looks like the idea of tacking on a hydrogen fuel-cell range extender onto an electric vehicle has been well-received, at least across the Pond. France-based Symbio FCell, which is working with Renault and its Kangoo ZE electric vans on the project, is planning on making 200 of those range-extendable vehicles this year. As for next? More than 1,000 are on the way.

The project is called HyWay and its investors include Michelin as well as ADEME (French national energy management), the Rhône-Alpes regional government and the European Funds FEDER. So far, the program has begat 50 range-extended vehicles, with French cities such as Grenoble and Lyon testing them in their utility fleets.

And for good reason. With a system that carries 1.8 kilograms (almost four pounds) of H2 on board and each kilogram extending the range by about 100 kilometers (62 miles), the electric vehicle's range is effectively doubled via the device and makes those vans a very viable every day option (should the hydrogen be easily procured, which we all know is another story altogether).

Symbol FCell started testing those vehicles last year and made its first deliveries in January. Check out Symbio's official press release below for more details.
Show full PR text
Symbio FCell to Deliver a Thousand Kangoo ZE-H2 Vehicles in 2016 Powered by Its Hydrogen Fuel Cell Range Extender Using Michelin's Technology

June 24, 2015 04:10 AM Eastern Daylight Time

PARIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The European leader of embedded fuel cell systems has already supplied more than 50 vehicles to date. Two hundred copies will be launched in 2015, and more than a thousand deliveries are expected for 2016. To meet this significant increase in demand in the market, Symbio FCell relies on the expertise and support of its co-shareholder Michelin to mass-produce its hydrogen fuel cell systems.

The HyWay project has reached another important milestone with twenty-one new Kangoo ZE-H2 utility vehicles, equipped with Symbio FCell range extender, now fully operational in Grenoble. This comes in addition to the vehicles already successfully deployed in Lyon. HyWay is the largest fleet of electric/hydrogen utility vehicles currently operated on a daily basis in Europe. With the financial backing of ADEME (French national energy management), the Rhône-Alpes regional government and the European Funds FEDER, this project establishes a unique and innovative model of simultaneous deployment of hydrogen stations serving multi-customers captive fleets. This deployment model is recommended in the French Hydrogen Mobility study.

By the end of 2015: almost 200 Kangoo ZE-H2 equipped by Symbio FCell will be on-stream in Europe
This project can be easily replicated across Europe and is increasingly well followed with nearly 30 cities in France having already applied. The first deployments have received financial contributions from Regions, ADEME, Europe FCH-JU2, and CEF/Ten-T.

Horizon 2016: Existing demands allow Symbio FCell to start volume production of at least 1000 vehicles for 2016
Following the first deployments initiated in 2015, some major operators are planning to extend their deployments to a few hundred vehicles in each of their fleets. The new developments will be based on the simultaneous implementation of commercial vehicle fleets, according to the H2 Mobility France cluster model. In 2016, those vehicles will be equipped with the latest Fuel Cell Stack developed by Michelin, in a more powerful system with extended functionality. To support the deployment at European level, a 700 bar Range Extender version will be available early 2016.

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