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Zero Emission Fleet vehicles For European Roll-out

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ZEFER (Zero Emission Fleet vehicles For European Roll-out)

Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2019-08-31

Despite continued support for the hydrogen mobility sector, there remains low uptake of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) in number of sales. This presents a significant challenge for the commercialisation efforts of the sector with a need to identify early business cases that can support the acceleration of the roll-out.

The ZEFER project aims to demonstrate viable business cases for captive fleets of FCEVs in operations which realise the value of hydrogen vehicles. For example, by the intensive use of vehicles and HRS, or by avoiding pollution charges in city centres where the refueling characteristics of FCEVs suit the duty cycles of the vehicle. Through this demonstration, ZEFER aims to drive sales of FCEVs in these applications to other cities, to increase global sales volumes of FCEVs and improve the business case for HRS serving these captive fleets.

The concerted activities in the ZEFER project will allow the consortium to:
• Deploy 180 fuel cell passenger cars in fleet operations across three major cities in Europe - Paris, Brussels and London.
• Rigorously test the performance of FCEVs in high-mileage fleets, travelling millions of kilometers over the project period.
• Prove that fleet operation of FCEVs is a viable business model for high mileage fleets in urban areas, bringing potential savings to the fleet operator when the externalities of choosing a zero-emission vehicle over an incumbent diesel vehicle are considered.
• Gather data on the performance of FCEVs as high mileage fleet vehicles to provide an evidence base that these vehicles are reliable, and suitable to be deployed in major cities around Europe, and across the world.
• Increase the utilization of HRS to demonstrate the viable business models for early HRS supported by captive fleets.
• Test the performance of today’s best-in-class hydrogen refuelling station technology under significantly increased loading compared to current levels. This will help to highlight the reliability of the stations and their ability to meet the demands of a growing number of FCEVs on the road.
• Communicate the benefits of FCEVs in fleet operation through widespread dissemination of the technical and business modelling research results. Decision-makers will be targeted to initiate conversations in local authorities and to foster acceptance of FCEV fleets.
Key progress during the 2nd year of the project includes:
• 81/180 ZEFER vehicles were in service across Paris and London. Deployment in Period 2 included 38 vehicles by STEP and 10 vehicles by MOPAC.
• The ZEFER vehicles in service have been operated rigorously in everyday operation and have amassed over 2 million kilometres. The vehicles have performed exceptionally well with deployment partners noting that they operate to the same standard as incumbent diesel vehicles.
• HRS availability has improved throughout Period 2 due to the effort and attention of HRS partners. The improvement seen in the UK network in 2019 was sufficient to convince GTC to deploy their full fleet of 50 FCEVs.
• HRS upgrades were on-going in Period 2. For both Air Liquide and ITM Power, extensive work was dedicated to developing availability apps which have been shown to greatly improve customer experience (as evidenced in WP4 deliverables).
• An extensive data set is being compiled on the FCEV and HRS operation. This has led to the identification of key learnings for future deployments and the development of a clear business case for FCEVs in high-mileage applications.
• Pre- and during operation driver surveys have been issued and interviews with fleet operators have begun to support the customer value proposition and commercialisation analysis.
• Initial interviews with HRS operators and observer partners have been conducted and the transcripts have been submitted in D4.4 and D4.5.
• Dissemination work has been on-going throughout Period 2. This included project presentations at 11 transport/taxi conferences, 3 hydrogen conferences and an increased social media presence on twitter.

Key next steps are:
• Continue vehicle deployment activities. Close monitoring of the BREATH deployment will be required and a mitigation plan in place should taxi fleets in Brussels be deemed unfeasible.
• Work towards the completion of HRS upgrades in London (outside ZEFER), Paris and Brussels in Period 3.
• Closely monitor the commissioning timeline of the Paris Ouest station.
• Further analysis of the performance of HRS and vehicles and the customer value propositions. This will include the completion of outstanding performance assessments.
• Increase outreach and dissemination activities to key audiences such as city regulators. Also, build upon ZEFER’s presence on social media.
• Continue the exchange of best practices and lessons learnt between partners in the project.