Fuel cell vehicle is closing in on its battery powered competitor


With the combustion engine phasing out, the question rises which technology will replace it. For now, with a relatively low total cost of ownership (TCO) the battery electric vehicle (BEV) is in pole position. The fuel cell vehicle (FCV), however, is closing in because of its longer range.


Edwin Bestebreurtje, partner & senior consultant

Flip Oude Weernink, Manager New Mobility

 Stedin, a Dutch grid operator responsible for the transport of electricity and gas to households and companies, has a fleet of 1.500 vehicles. The company wants its corporate fleet to support its mission; providing every citizen in the Netherlands with sustainable energy.


FIER Automotive and its research partners FleetCarma and EY assessed the corporate fleet of Stedin to provide the background information needed to increase it’s efficiency. The results of the study are published because it’s part of the FP7-project I-CVUE, a statistical research programm of the European Union on incentives for the use of cleaner vehicles.


The route data of thirty vehicles - passenger cars, small vans and large vans - of  Stedin’s fleet was used for the research project. This data was analysed with the EV modelling software of FleetCarma by making a simulation with BEV’s and FCV’s for the same drive cycles. In addition to this quantitative data collection and analyses, qualitative data was gathered by interviewing fifteen drivers.


Longer range, but high TCO

Detailed analyses of the data by FIER Automotive and FleedCarma made clear replacing all passenger cars in Stedin’s fleet by BEV’s, about one third of the total fleet, would lead to a TCO reduction of 15% and a reduction of fuel consumption with 27%.


FCV’s have a longer range than BEV’s, but also a much higher TCO. FCV’s also struggle with the issue of the lack of infrastructure; the Netherlands only has three hydrogen stations. This causes not only high costs, but also a certain ‘range anxiety’ amongst drivers.


The TCO-gap between FCV’s and BEV’s proved to be relatively high. Stedin choose to acquire two Toyota Mirai FCV’s despite the results of the study, because the company expects the TCO of the technology will improve in the future. The operation of the two vehicles have been monitored for a full year with data loggers and the EV software of FleetCarma. The results of this pilot, which takes place from September 2016 until September 2017, will be published as soon as they are available.


For more information, please send us an email and we will send you  our paper ‘Comparing Battery Electric and Fuel Cell Vehicles as replacement for conventional cars in company fleets’, presented during the EVS30 Symposium from 9 until 11 October 2017 in Stuttgart.


Photo: Pixabay