Jeroen: “” After about 9000 km, fortunately I got a reliable feeling about the consumption of the car and thus the intended range. I also have a fairly good picture of the available filling stations in the region (the Netherlands, Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen). I see it as a challenge to make a sum over and over, which trips to make and where / when to refuel. This “tank voltage” is actually the only pressure I experience when using the NEXO. For the rest it is and remains a wonderfully comfortable car to drive ”.

Last summer we went to Denmark with the family. Thanks to Holthausen left with a full tank from Groningen with destination Esbjerg (West Jutland). A journey of approximately 650 km, which in theory can be driven with one full tank. We did not accept that challenge, because with 2 children and a dog we already have enough challenge to keep the trip pleasant. Normally abroad has something exciting in terms of travel, toll, Baustelle etc., while we know our paths in the Netherlands. The opposite applies with regard to “tank voltage”. As soon as we have passed the border with the eastern neighbors, we see one or more hydrogen filling stations in every large city. The same applies to Denmark, the country with the highest density in terms of hydrogen stations. To paint a picture for our trip to West Jutland, we pass gas stations in Bremen (2 pcs.), Hamburg (3 pcs.), Flensburg, Kolding and Esbjerg. The largest distance between 2 petrol stations is 200 km (Groningen-Bremen), which of course does not pose any problems with an average range of 550 km.

The Town of Groningen has had some vehicles converted to run on hydrogen.

In both Germany and Denmark, the refueling facilities are almost perfect. They are not (yet) part of a Raststatte, but are located in the immediate vicinity of the Autobahn (max. 5 km). Refueling in Germany is done with the H2-Livecard and in Denmark with a drop. In both cases, the supplier knows how to find my bank account very well :-). It is therefore necessary to request the correct payment methods in advance in order to refuel at all. Application is simple, see the explanation in the H2-Live App. Refueling itself is similar to refueling LPG: connect the hose and press the button once. After about 3 minutes the tank is full and you can go about 550 km again. In my opinion, being able to quickly increase the range (read: refueling) is the biggest advantage compared to electric driving.

Full refueling quickly requires a powerful and cooled installation (-40 grd C) with a filling pressure of 700 bar. In the Netherlands, these installations are still a rarity, which means that refueling often requires more time. My permanent tank location of Holthausen in Groningen does not (yet) have the facilities to be able to refuel quickly. Refueling here takes about 30-45 minutes and is by appointment through Whatapp. But then you do have the opportunity to read the latest hydrogen news with the gas station attendant while enjoying a free cup of coffee in the gypsy wagon. For example, in addition to upscaling hydrogen technology in larger vehicles (buses, trucks and ships), it has been possible to run small-scale appliances such as a barbecue and weed burners on hydrogen. In addition, I like to share my “tank voltage” and jointly outline a tank strategy for the coming period. Holthausen employees think along and are flexible when it comes to a return trip to Randstad and the necessary refueling at the edges of the day, abrasive at the opening hours :-).

If you like (sustainable) technology, I advise you to visit this filling station at Dunkirk Street. Several thousand solar panels have been installed on the former landfill. The current generated is partly used by the electrolyser to generate hydrogen, the rest is delivered to the grid. The hydrogen is compressed on site and stored in the filling station. With a little imagination you can see the conversion of renewable energy: sunlight => electricity => hydrogen from water => electricity in fuel cell => vehicle movement => water vapor.

The development of hydrogen stations in the Netherlands is in full swing. A public station has recently been opened in Arnhem and will soon also be operating at full pressure (700 bar). With a European subsidy in hand, a number of petrol stations in the Northern Netherlands (Groningen, Pesse, Emmen, Leeuwarden) are being accelerated. Initiatives are also being developed in the rest of the country, which is necessary to make driving on hydrogen interesting for a larger group of people. The nitrogen problem once again indicates that we must make our mobility more sustainable in the Netherlands. It’s possible! A.o. by expanding the hydrogen station network and scaling up (hydrogen) electric driving.

I expect that within a few years the hydrogen network will be sufficiently dense and that this will blur the pioneering with the “tank voltage”. Unfortunately, this will be at the expense of the pleasant coffee moments in the shack. What was innovative changes surprisingly quickly into nostalgic memories.