Germany’s network of hydrogen filling stations has grown to 21 sites after openings at the Geiselwind motorway service area, at two locations in Berlin, a station in Fellbach, Baden-Württemberg, and the latest site at Ulm.

The hydrogen filling stations have been funded as research and development projects by the German federal government through the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP). The existing filling stations already reach some six million people in the metropolitan regions of Berlin, Hamburg, the Rhine/Ruhr, Stuttgart and Munich. Seven stations are located in Baden-Württemberg alone, with five more planned in the region.

Within the NIP expansion programme, Daimler and Linde are participating in a total of 20 new stations with a total investment of around €20m. Total operates the hydrogen pump in Ulm and paid for its construction.

Klaus Bonhoff, managing director of the National Organisation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW), said: “The system – from hydrogen production to refuelling, through to the customer’s vehicle – works. This is one of the most important results of the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology, which expires in its current form at the end 2016.

“As part of the Clean Energy Partnership, the federal government has invested more than €110m in testing the technology for its suitability for everyday use since 2008. Now, in a first expansion stage, 50 hydrogen filling stations are being built, jointly funded by government and industry. The filling station in Ulm, whose construction and operation the federal government is funding with close to €1m, closes the Munich-Stuttgart corridor.”

Norbert Barthle, parliamentary state secretary at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, commented: “The market ramp-up of electric cars is beginning, and the vehicle manufacturers’ offers are becoming more varied and attractive. To get e-cars onto the road, we now need an extensive network of hydrogen filling stations in Germany – in the cities, along the autobahns and also in more rural areas. The establishment of the station in Ulm is another important component in this.”

“Following the success of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL, a new generation of vehicles based on our GLC will launch from 2017. For the first time in an electric fuel-cell vehicle, a lithium-ion battery will be used as an independent drive mode. So in the next step our fuel cell will be getting a plug,” said Professor Christian Mohrdieck, head of fuel cells, at Daimler. “In view of the market launch, the rapid development of infrastructure is a top priority. We are proud to be able to make an important contribution to this, not least as part of the H2 Mobility joint venture.”