The UAE’s first hydrogen station for fuel cell electric vehicles has been opened by Toyota distributor Al Futtaim Motors in partnership with Air Liquide in Dubai.
Located in Al Badia, the new station aims to lead to a larger-scale deployment of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) as part of a pilot programme, which was started in May 2017 to test the zero-emission technology on UAE roads.
Using technologies such as an electric propulsion system – also available in hybrid cars – FCEVs run on hydrogen rather than petrol, emitting only water from the tail pipe.
In the onboard fuel cell stack, hydrogen combines with oxygen in the air to generate electricity that powers the vehicle’s electric motor.
Unlike battery-powered electric vehicles, FCEVs do not require external electric charging; can be refilled with hydrogen in less than five minutes; and are able to travel up to 500km on a full tank.
The new facility comes after Toyota’s chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada announced the launch of a collaborative study about the feasibility of establishing a hydrogen-based society in the UAE, aiming at drastically lowering CO2 emissions.
Bertrand Thiebaut, senior managing director, Al-Futtaim Motors said: “The pilot which started with only three Toyota Mirai vehicles, will soon expand to involve a larger fleet that will be tested by key stakeholders in the UAE.”
If deployed on a larger scale, the technology is hoped to significantly reduce the UAE’s dependence on oil and lower car-generated pollution levels.
Matthieu Giard, Dubai hub executive vice president for MEA and India at Air Liquide added: “Hydrogen is a key enabler for an effective transition to a low-carbon economy aiming at improving air quality in our cities.”
Dubai is currently undertaking a smart autonomous mobility strategy aimed at making 25 per cent of total journeys driverless by 2030.
The government has also announced plans to make up to 10 per cent of its new fleet orders electric and hybrid vehicles.