Sudden stop for sales of hydrogen cars in Norway – NRK...

Hyundai is considered one of the two major passenger cars that run on hydrogen in Norway. Toyota is the other major supplier of these cars in Norway. Information manager at Toyota Norway Espen Olsen says they have sold 15 cars of the first generation Mirai hydrogen cars so far in 2020.

This is a formidable downturn from one of the peak years in 2017, when more than 50 hydrogen passenger cars were sold in Norway.

Sales of passenger cars with hydrogen as fuel had good future prospects as late as the spring of 2019, but then it exploded at the hydrogen station of Uno-X in Sandvika outside Oslo in June 2019.

The explosion and fire at the Uno-X station in Sandvika was catastrophic for the investment in hydrogen cars.

Photo: Anders Fehn / NRK

– Expect sales to pick up

Thus, Uno-X closed all its stations in Norway and they are still closed.

There are many car brands that have a hydrogen car in their selection, most are in the test stage. Hyundai and Toyota are considered the largest in the class, but in total they have only sold 15 cars so far in 2020.

– In the current year, we have not sold any hydrogen-electric cars, but we expect sales to pick up when the station capacity is expanded, says product and PR manager at Hyundai in Norway, Øyvind L. Knudsen.

Opens a new pump in Bærum

– Here is a full tank in three minutes, so fast it goes when you fill the tank with hydrogen. And you do not have to hold the hose with your hands, says Ulf Hafseld.

He is the founder and general manager of the company HYNION, which has had a hydrogen pump in operation at Høvik since November.

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A second pump is now being opened that can be used by passing cars. In the past, it has been necessary to order refills of hydrogen for your car at the same station.

Photo: Gunnar Bratthammer

– We are now putting into operation a hydrogen pump that can be used from this week. In the past, people have had to order refills before they can refuel. Now it will be an ordinary pump here you can only refuel by driving past the hydrogen station, he says.

– I am happy with my hydrogen car, it has a long range. And it must have, because the nearest filling point for passenger cars is in Trondheim, fifty miles away, says Tore Elliassen who comes by to fill up with some fuel.

Tore Eliassen is one of around a hundred in this country who owns a car that runs on hydrogen.

Photo: Gunnar Bratthammer

There has been no shortage of kind words and praise for future opportunities for these cars, which are completely emission-free and do not need to use batteries that are large and heavy.

– Those who buy a hydrogen car must be confident of filling options in the future. That is what the Liberal Party’s Ola Elvestuen said in 2016.

Hyundai has sold the most cars in Norway in the last four years, and the car supplier still has some faith in the future again.

– We delivered 22 hydrogen electric cars in 2019, 27 in 2018 and 38 in 2017. Sales of hydrogen electric cars are completely dependent on the escalation of the filling station infrastructure. The cars are already available and ready for the market, and our Hyundai Nexo is a full-fledged family car with zero emissions and plenty of space, says PR manager Øyvind Knudsen.

At the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, we get confirmation that there are few cars registered so far in 2020. The 15 hydrogen cars that Toyota has sold plus a car that has been imported from the USA.

Wasted to bet on

MDG’s energy policy spokesman Ask Ibsen Lindal believes it is a waste to invest in passenger cars that run on hydrogen.

Ask Ibsen Lindal is an energy policy spokesperson for the Green Party. He believes that electric cars use energy much better than passenger cars that run on hydrogen.

– The problem with hydrogen cars is that energy utilization is much worse than for electric cars. You can get three times as far on the same energy with an electric car as with a hydrogen car, Lindal says.

The general manager of Hynion, Ulf Hafseld, believes that there is a hydrogen wind blowing across the country now.

– I think the accident in Sandvika was an unusual event. I have not heard of anything like this in the whole world. We use a different technology here at Høvik. There are several barriers and detectors built in here so we know what is going on, he says.

Minister of Climate and Environment Sveinung Rotevatn believes there is room for both electric cars and hydrogen cars in Norway.

– I am for all zero-emission cars we can get. Either they run on battery or they run on hydrogen. It’s basically the same for me, as long as they emit zero. It’s great, says Rotevatn.

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