Could Hyvia catalyse the hydrogen LCV segment?

The new JV is offering not just fuel cell vans but also the fuel, the stations and the fleet management services. By Megan Lampinen

A new player has emerged in the hydrogen mobility ecosystem, making bold promises for the European market. Renault Group and US hydrogen specialist Plug Power have formed the 50-50 joint venture Hyvia to tap an anticipated hydrogen fuel cell boom. Renault likes to refer to itself as a ‘hydrogen pioneer’ but so far it has primarily used the technology as a range extender for battery electric LCVs.

Automotive World Magazine – August 2021

If all goes to plan, Hyvia expects to be the first company to offer not only hydrogen fuel cell vehicles but also the hydrogen on which they run, the fuelling stations and even fleet maintenance and management. The venture is based in Renault’s home market of France. The head office and R&D teams are located in Villiers-Saint-Frédéric, the home of Renault’s LCV engineering and development centre, with the aim of maximising synergies across the two teams. Process, manufacturing and logistics teams are based in Flins, as part of the Re-Factory project, and plan to begin the assembly of fuel cells and refuelling stations by the end of 2021. The first vehicles will be assembled at the Batilly plant, while Renault’s subsidiary PVI will carry out fuel cell integration in Gretz-Armainvilliers.

While it’s still early days for hydrogen mobility, President David Holderbach believes Hyvia should be able to quickly carve out a dominant position: 30% of the European market for hydrogen LCVs by 2030. There is plenty of work ahead, but as Holderbach tells Automotive World, backing from such experts as Renault Group and Plug Power should arm it with the necessary capabilities to become a pioneer in the segment.

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