In February we went on a skiing holiday with our family to Austria. An interesting challenge to make this trip with the hydrogen car. In this blog I will take you through my experiences of this beautiful journey.

In previous blogs I have hinted that I am very enthusiastic about driving the Hyundai NEXO! What a wonderful, comfortable car! It should therefore come as no surprise that I have a clear preference for the NEXO for this trip. The only tension I sometimes experience is the laying of the fuel puzzle, whereby the route is tuned to the available petrol stations.

Last summer we already had a great experience traveling (and refueling) abroad (Germany, Denmark, see Blog 3). The tank puzzle is much easier to lay in Germany than in the Netherlands. At the moment, approximately 80 hydrogen tank stations are operational at our eastern neighbors. In 2020 this number will rise sharply to approximately 100 units. Anyway, Germany is also a bit bigger than the Netherlands, so driving the Autobahn with a lack of a refueling strategy is not recommended.

There are a number of reasons to outline a refueling strategy. The main reason is the density of the filling stations. There are often a number of hydrogen filling stations around the major cities (Ruhrgebiet, Frankfurt, Munich). In rural areas, the distance between service stations is 150-200 km. That is an essential difference with conventional fuels! The hydrogen filling stations are often located near highways in an industrial area or at an Autohof.

Used H2 filling stations during the journey

Another reason to come up with a refueling strategy is the degree of reliability of the functioning of the hydrogen refueling stations. The stations usually have 1 filling point. In case of failure, the entire station is unusable and an alternative will have to be found. In order not to have to wait for a mechanic and / or towage service with all the fuss of a traveling family, it is advisable to keep a tank buffer, so that at least a next station can be reached in case of malfunction. This apparent tank voltage can still be uncomfortable and stressful for some people. However, I think this is not so bad, since the availability of the petrol stations is monitored live. With the H2-Live App you can register (free of charge) for this fault report of petrol stations located on your route.

With a full hydrogen tank you can drive approx. 550 km. Our refueling strategy is aimed at refueling during every break (approx. 2 to 2.5 hours). Just say after about 300 km. The idea is that there is always one or more back-up filling stations within reach, should the planned filling station be out of order. After all, after 300 km you have about 250 km range. Refueling includes: Scan H2 Pass, pair the fuel gun and press the green button. After 3 minutes you can drive again 550 km. A refueling at the same time as a break is therefore perfectly suitable.

The hydrogen filling stations we have visited have all been placed at conventional filling stations with excellent facilities (shop + toilet). I am sorry to notice the long queues at the electric car charging stations. A solution will have to be found for a large-scale sustainable transition to electric and hydrogen transport.

Gas station Innsbruck

The poster shows which petrol stations we have used. On the way there have been: Groningen, Osnabrück, Würzburg and Ulm. From our stay in Fulpmes (Stubai-tal) it was about a 20 km drive to the nearest gas station in Innsbruck, which we visited once. Refueling in Würzburg was not without a struggle. Coupling went fine, but the installation stopped at 100 grams of hydrogen. Just try again… pass it, enter pin code, connect hose and press green button. Again 100 grams, where I actually need 4 kg. Just call the helpdesk in Berlin. A friendly man asks me to repeat the ritual. 100 grams again, Und Jetzt? The “tank clerk” reset the installation from Berlin. The installation started to pump, but the screen remained black. The analog pressure gauge ran nicely at 400, 500, 600, 700 (Wunder) bar! I just couldn’t see how much I had to pay as the display remained black. The “tank clerk” explained that there is a malfunction with the payment terminal and that the installation therefore did not continue pumping. Result a free refueling of order size 50 euros! As a “hydrogen pioneer” you may also be lucky to have a tank :-). Thank you!

Click here for the poster in PDF:
Refueling Visio-Hydrogen to Austria

700 (Wunder) bar!

At the first serious mountain pass it is a bit of a shock in terms of consumption, which almost doubles at the Fernpass. Fortunately, this “whirlpool” in the gas tank is again compensated by the regeneration of power during the descent (consumption = 0 kg / 100km), see consumption graph in the picture. The average use of the whole trip is about 1.2 kg / 100 km, which is equal to the use in the Netherlands. The main factors that influence the use are speed, slope percentage and (head) wind. In addition, the use is driven by the increased roll / frictional resistance of the winter tires. Actually the same physical factors that influence consumption in a conventional car. Outside temperature has no significant effect on the consumption of the hydrogen car.

H2 consumption trend over the Fernpass

All in all, the trip with a hydrogen car was very pleasant. With a number of comfortable rest / tank breaks, the journey to Austria and back is very easy to accomplish!

Some facts about the trip:

Hyundai NEXO Plus Pack 2019 (without roof racks and ski box)
– Total distance traveled: 2,170 km
– Tank stops: 7 times
– Total hydrogen consumption: 26.48 kg
– Average consumption: 1.22 kg / 100 km

Cost of hydrogen: < br> – NL: approx. 12 euros / kg,
– D: 9.50 euros / kg
– AT: 9.00 euro / kg

– Total costs: € 249.56
– Air purification: 1386 kL *
– CO2 reduction: 298 kg * The amount of air that 94 adults breathe per day has been purified.