Where does hydrogen stand in the “fit for 55” initiative?

Since the 14th of July, there has been many talks about the planned end of the combustion engine in 2035 and paving the way for the opportunities to develop electric vehicles (including hydrogen-powered ones). But what exactly does the ‘fit for 55’ legislative package consist in? The European Commission (based in Brussels) wants to see a 55% reduction in vehicle emissions (cars and light commercial vehicles) by 2030, compared to 2021 levels, and 100% five years later.

Brussels experts explain that if the original targets of -37.5% had been maintained for 2030, the objective would have not been reached. By stepping up efforts on CO2 while stopping combustion engine (without forgetting this is about technological neutrality!), with a threshold of 0 g for 2035, the Commission is counting on a much higher adoption rate for electric vehicles. Thus, instead of 25% as initially planned in 2030, it should reach 45.3% for battery-powered vehicles, outdoing the share of the combustion engine (39.4%) and plug-in hybrids (14.3%). According to the Commission the share of Hydrogen would be 1% by the end of the decade. Following the ban on combustion (and plug-in hybrids), in 2035 the share of battery electrics would be 90.2%, with the remainder (9.8%) made up of hydrogen vehicles. For the year 2040, Brussels experts predict a rise in hydrogen to 10.1%, with the battery largely dominating the car market at 89.9%.

Against all odds, the forecasts of the Commission report a market largely dominated by battery-powered electric in commercial vehicles (34.7% compared with 0.7% for hydrogen in 2030, 94.2% and 5.8% for 2035 and 93% and 7% for 2040).

Furthermore, let’s remind that the objective is to offer filling stations every 150 km (about 93 miles).

*A legislative package aiming at reducing CO2 emissions by 55% over the next decade in order to gradually put an end to the European Union’s economic dependence on fossil fuels. This text is in line with the Paris Agreement (COP 15 of 2015) and the “Green Deal” announced by the European Commission. The objective is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Logan King.

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