A global player in the automotive industry, Faurecia capitalizes on its experience and strengths to drive the transition from ultra-low emission technologies to zero-emission hydrogen solutions.  Frédéric Charon of Faurecia moderated this masterclass, which focuses on how to drive the transition from ultra-low-emission mobility to zero-emission hydrogen mobility solutions.

Frank Daufenbach, Clean Mobility VP for Strategy and Marketing at Faurecia, pointed out that on its journey from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles, Faurecia started by developing exhaust systems for cars and trucks, and are now developing zero-emission hydrogen-based solutions.

Today, CO2 regulations are driving electrification. The fuel efficiency of the cars we drive will need to be increased by a factor of 2 or 3 from 2015 to 2030. Fully electric vehicles will be key in reaching these targets. Bans on combustion engines are another driver of electrification. In 2040, almost half of new vehicles worldwide will be all-electric. The trend is clear: in the automotive industry, the future is electric, and Europe is at the forefront of this trend, followed closely by China.

For Nicolas D’Arco, Strategy, Partnership and Marketing Director at Faurecia, fuel cell and electric battery vehicles will be complementary solutions, while hydrogen solutions will be better suited to heavy-duty trucks and long haul usage. In the long run, there is no unique solution for zero-emission mobility. For car manufacturers, the transition starts with solid technology, technical expertise, and the right mix of partnerships in the zero-emission ecosystem.

Jean-Luc Brossard, Director at VFEE (an acronym that means low environmental footprint vehicle), indicated that for hydrogen-powered vehicles, refueling takes less than 3 minutes and provides 400 km of autonomy. At present, one of the barriers for hydrogen vehicles is the cost of hydrogen, argued Mr. D’Arco, which will need to be reduced by a factor of at least 4 by 2030..Mr. Brossard added that hydrogen will have to be readily available at the pump at an affordable price if hydrogen-powered vehicles are to capture a significant part of the market. Furthermore, the hydrogen will have to be green, i.e. created using renewable energy rather than fossil fuels. Also, infrastructure—distribution networks and refueling stations—will be a key factor for hydrogen vehicles to enter the market.

Responding to a question on the total cost of ownership (TCO) of hydrogen vehicles, Mr. Brossard explained that the cost of producing green hydrogen is very high. To enter the market, the TCO of hydrogen-powered vehicles must be at least as competitive as diesel alternatives.

In response to a question regarding other types of vehicles powered by hydrogen, Mr. D’Arco specified that Faurecia is also present in the stationary engine market. The preference for hydrogen-based powertrains depends on the intensity of usage, which also applies to boats, trains and planes. Batteries are better suited for short range travel, while hydrogen is the preferred energy source for long range transportation.

Whatever the energy source, the future of the automotive industry will be electric.

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