But it continues to pioneer with hydrogen (in the Netherlands)
My first driving experiences with the Hyundai NEXO have been extremely positive. A very complete and comfortable car, because of the electric drive, automatic transmission and comfortable (heated or cooled) seats. The smart adaptive cruise control in combination with all kinds of cameras and sensors makes the car safe and even restful in case of traffic jams.
It is therefore not a problem to have to drive about 200 km for a refueling and to enjoy the weekend for a few hours less … Well, it continues to be pioneering with hydrogen (in the Netherlands). The story begins on an early Friday morning in the North of the country. Destination is Veenendaal, headquarters Dutch Boosting Group, approx. 190 km south. Together with valued colleagues Bauke and Matthijs, our journey begins in the knowledge that we still have 458 km of hydrogen on board. A small calculation early in the morning teaches us that we should be able to amply return to Veenendaal-Groningen. Then Monday I can refuel the NEXO with the friendly people of Holthausen.
We continue to drive at the maximum speed on the highways A28-A50-A12, largely 130 km per hour. Pretty soon we notice that the actual distance driven lags behind the forecast for remaining hydrogen kilometers. In principle, we should have about 270 km left when we have arrived in Veenendaal. The practice is a bit surprising: still 240 km left. The otherwise friendly colleagues from Veenendaal cannot resist making some jokes about our coming weekend. I laugh along, because those jokes are part of pioneering! Fortunately, I still have an asset …
Via Hyundai dealer Kim Groenewold and Joost Hesselink of Pit Point, I received data from all contacts of hydrogen stations in the Netherlands. Incidentally, that fits on half an A4 sheet. A hydrogen filling station is operated by HyGear in Arnhem. After a phone call I know more: I can fill up at 3:30 PM, 350 bar, pay cash. Oh, for me a surprise after purchasing NEXO: there are 350 bar and 700 bar filling stations. With 700 bar you fill a passenger car almost full, with 350 bar you fill it half full. With a half full tank I can drive almost 300 km, that should work to Groningen!
After another inspiring and fun day in Veenendaal, the hydrogen pioneers go home with a stopover in Arnhem. At the agreed time we refuel the NEXO, at least the intention is. The friendly HyGear employee tells us good and less good news: the good news is that the weather is good, the less good news is that the pressure in the car is higher than the pump can handle. In other words, no extra hydrogen enters the tank. It is nice that we receive that less good news in a lovely sun …
The prognosis is that we can still drive 213 km. Groningen is still about 180 km away, the A50 is pretty fixed and it runs at 30 degrees. The next refueling stop on the route is Monday morning at Holthausen in Groningen. If we save the return trip, NEXO will remain in the driveway for the weekend. Pit Point will open a public station in Arnhem in mid-July, Pesse (A28) will be at the end of the year. We can’t wait for that. Our early experiences with regard to prognosis still to drive kilometers in combination with the “nice weather” or the need to use the air conditioning, makes us decide to seek our happiness across the border.
H2.Live is an indispensable App for users of hydrogen vehicles. This German App provides an overview of public hydrogen stations in Europe, including current information about malfunctions, etc. Fortunately, I recently applied for, received and placed an H2.Live fuel card in the car. Our friendly HyGear employee calls the nearest hydrogen filling station, located in Duisburg at a distance of approx. 100 km. Fortunately, the gas station is in operation and equipped with a 700 bar station. On to the Ruhr-Gebiet and fill up with hydrogen, (non-alcoholic) beer and Bratwurst!
With a detour of less than 200 km I will be home around 9:00 PM. A day of pioneering with hydrogen has taught me a lot:
– Forecast of kilometers still to be driven does not match at a speed of approx. 130 km / h;
– New public hydrogen station (700 bar) is under construction in Arnhem and will probably open in mid-July. The existing station had too little energy to refuel the car (half).
– Germany is far ahead of the Netherlands in the area of hydrogen, in terms of: public filling stations, fast cooled full filling (700 bar) in about 5 minutes , communication via App, payment via TankCard linked to bank account.
– The adaptive cruise control system in combination with the automatic transmission drives very pleasant in Ruhrgebiet during peak hours, for example. – Beautiful, non-complaining travel group with Bier und Bratwurst;
– If I want to return to Groningen-Veenendaal at the same speed, I will have to start with a full tank (forecast range approx. 550 km).