Mahle Ups Its Hydrogen Interest for Both FCEV and ICE

Automotive supplier Mahle is increasing its stake in hydrogen powertrain technology exploring both fuel-cell and internal combustion applications.

It has announced that it will be expanding its application portfolio for hydrogen while also joining the Hydrogen Council, a worldwide initiative of leading energy, transport, and industrial companies, which advocates hydrogen as an essential element of the global energy transition.

The technology company says already has a broad portfolio for fuel cell systems and is also driving forward the ongoing development of ICE technology to support the use of hydrogen as a fuel. In truth, this move reflects the growing opinion that BEV will not be a long-term solution for all areas of transportation around the world.

Hydrogen in ICE

While burning hydrogen in ICE powertrains has been applied many times in the past, the issue of low energy density has limited the vehicle’s range and restricted its use to very localised transportation or electricity generation. It’s clear Mahle believes that its technology can go some way to increasing this energy density issue so that the fuel could be used in remote locations with little infrastructure and far from sources of grid electricity.

The company also claims extensive experience as a series supplier for fuel cell vehicles for more than a decade and claims a particularly strong position in the air intake system and in the temperature control of fuel cell systems. For example, the Nikola Motor Company has relied on Mahle’s expertise in thermal management for the development of its fuel cell truck Nikola Two since 2018. The systems specialist headquartered in Stuttgart/Germany is the development partner and supplier for the truck’s entire cooling and air conditioning system.

Federal initiatives

The Mahle CEO believes hydrogen initiatives announced by the German federal government and the European Union are also sending out positive signals. Jörg Stratmann: “The German federal government and the EU have taken important steps in the right direction. However, there is still a lot to be done to industrialize fuel cell technology consistently and complement the highly efficient combustion engine with regenerative fuels, which is important in terms of climate and industrial policy.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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