BERLIN -- Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess said hydrogen fuel cell cars are not the answer to future emissions free driving.
“The hydrogen car is proven NOT to be the climate solution,” Diess wrote on Twitter. “In transport, electrification has prevailed. Bogus debates are a waste of time. Please listen to the science!”
He directed the statement at the Twitter handles of those running to succeed German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the office of chancellor this autumn, including Armin Laschet, leader of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Olaf Scholz, the country’s finance minister, and Green Party candidate Annalena Baerbock.
Diess's tweet also tagged Andreas Scheuer, German Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, and included a link to an article in the German business newspaper Handelsblatt reporting on a study backing Diess’s claims.
The study was conducted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The report came to the conclusion that developing hydrogen-based passenger cars would be harmful to the climate, at least for the time being.
Researchers at PIK said hydrogen-based fuels are inefficient, costly, and the availability of the raw materials needed is unreliable, recommending electric battery-based vehicles be the focus of a green mobility strategy.
In an interview published on May 6, Romain Sacchi, a member of the PKI study team, told The Guardian if produced with the current electricity mixes in Europe, hydrogen-based fuels would increase – not decrease – greenhouse gas emissions, compared with using fossil fuels.
VW has repeatedly spoken out against hydrogen as an option for the near future. In a March interview with the Financial Times, Diess claimed hydrogen fuel cell technology would never be efficient enough for widespread use.
In another Twitter post from February 11, Diess said it was time for politicians to accept science and called hydrogen “far too expensive, inefficient, slow and difficult to rollout and transport.”
“After all: no #hydrogen cars in sight,” the post said.
Other automakers, including Hyundai and BMW, are moving ahead with hydrogen development plans: Hyundai said earlier this month it would work with public and private partners to expand hydrogen infrastructure in the United States, while BMW plans to unveil a limited series hydrogen fuel cell model SUV in 2022.
Stellantis will also launch hybrid hydrogen and battery-electric medium commercial vans from Peugeot, Citroen and Opel by the end of the year, with the promise of 400 km (250 miles) of range and a fill-up time of about three minutes.