The funds will be used for research and development purposes as well as for upgrading the infrastructure.
According to a report issued by Die Welt, Germany's Transport Ministry is working on a plan to invest 250 million euros (about $265M) within the next three years to support hydrogen cars. The newspaper mentions local authorities will set up a funding program to make hydrogen-powered cars more suitable for mass production and also to develop the necessary infrastructure to cater these greener vehicles. Not only that, but the government has allegedly agreed to roll out a support program for hydrogen cars that is supposed to last until 2026.
German authorities have spent a total of approximately €1.4 billion ($1.6B) in the last ten years to support hydrogen cars. This new investment plan is already proving to be quite popular, with 500 companies lined up for the first part of the funding program. The main objective is to make hydrogen cars easier to live with on a daily basis by boosting range and create more filling stations. In addition, driving down the asking price is also on the to-do list taking into account hydrogen-powered models are still substantially more expensive than conventional models.
Only a handful of hydrogen cars are on sale today, with Toyota’s Mirai being the first mass-produced model of its kind. Honda also has the Clarity Fuel Cell, but it’s not available in Germany or in any other European country for that matter. Honda is shipping 185 units of its FCEV to Austria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and U.K. as part of the Hydrogen for Innovative Vehicles (HyFIVE) EU demonstration, but these cars are not for sale.
Mercedes-Benz will soon join the party with the GLC F-Cell scheduled to go on sale next year. Previewed some months ago by a near-production prototype, the hydrogen GLC will actually be a plug-in hybrid, so owners will be able to recharge the lithium-ion battery pack granting an estimated range of 30 miles (48 kilometers). With the battery charged and the two hydrogen tanks at full capacity, the GLC F-Cell will have a maximum range of about 310 miles (500 km).