Al-Futtaim Motors, leader in sustainable mobility and exclusive distributor of Toyota and Lexus in the UAE, in collaboration with Toyota Motor Corporation, today proposed to conduct a new study in the field of sustainable mobility for the feasibility of establishing a hydrogen-based society in the UAE. As part of the study, a pilot plan will be put in place to test Toyota’s zero-emission Fuel Cell technology through a number of hydrogen-powered Fuel Cell Toyota Mirai vehicles, in order to check their viability in the UAE.
Al-Futtaim Motors also made another major announcement about the signing of a partnership with Air Liquide, one of the most established suppliers of hydrogen stations in the world, who will support Al-Futtaim Motors and Toyota Motor Corporation in their assessment of hydrogen as a clean energy solution for the UAE, and who are currently setting up the first hydrogen fueling stations in Dubai, to enable the pilot program.
The announcement was made at the 2nd International Conference on Future Mobility, where Len Hunt, President Automotive Group at Al-Futtaim, said: “This is a significant step forward in our journey towards contributing to the possible development of a hydrogen society, in which everything from vehicles to work and living places are powered by the zero-emission hydrogen. More importantly for the UAE, using hydrogen as a primary source of fuel considerably expedites achieving the sustainability targets set by the UAE Government, and helps the country significantly reduce its CO2 footprint in the coming decades.”
Hunt compared the United Arab Emirates to other forward-thinking countries around the world, such as Japan, the USA and several European states, all of which have implemented a hydrogen fueling infrastructure to support the deployment of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles.
“The UAE is an exemplary country to pioneer new green technologies such as the Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles, particularly given the environmental goals set by the Government, such as the ones set by the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, aiming at making Dubai a global center of clean energy and green economy,” explained Hunt.
Speaking on behalf of Toyota Motor Corporation, Kiyotaka Ise, Senior Managing Officer, Toyota Motor Corporation, reiterated his company’s commitment to the “Toyota Global Environmental Challenge 2050”, an initiative that dictates not only to go beyond zero environmental impact, but also achieve a net positive impact. The goal is to reduce vehicle CO2 emissions by 90 percent in comparison with 2010 levels, by 2050. To realize this, Toyota will promote the development of next-generation vehicles with low or zero CO2 emissions – hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric, and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric vehicles – and further accelerate the spread of these vehicles.”
Ise explained how Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric vehicles are driven by an electric motor, but instead of being powered by a battery, they create the electricity through an onboard Fuel Cell stack, using oxygen from the air with the stored hydrogen to power the car, resulting in the release of water instead of CO2 as a byproduct. He detailed the many advantages of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) compared to battery-powered electric cars, mainly in relation to fuel economy and driving range, fueling time and environmental impact.
Also speaking at the conference, François Darchis, Senior-Vice President, member of the Air Liquide Group’s Executive Committee, supervising Innovation, expressed that the global and local imperatives to cut pollution and preserve air quality are major challenges. He said: “The world of energy is in the midst of deep change and hydrogen is the missing link for a successful energy transition. Hydrogen constitutes one of the solutions for clean transportation, allowing to shift towards a low carbon society, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as well as pollution in cities. The new pilot allows us to further demonstrate the benefits of hydrogen-powered vehicles and equipment and the impact they can have on creating a more sustainable society, allowing all parties to contribute in meeting energy and environmental targets.”
Unlike battery-powered electric vehicles, the four-door mid-size sedan with performance that fully competes with traditional internal combustion engines, Toyota Mirai, is not recharged by plugging it into an electricity grid, but is fueled using hydrogen at a hydrogen fueling station, and travels up to 500km+ on a full tank.