Forvia (Faurecia) promises that hydrogen will be cheaper than battery cars by 2030

Much discussed and even contested, the hydrogen car has found its adorer … Patrick Koller, CEO of Forvia (the new structure resulting from the acquisition of Hella by Faurecia), did not mince the words to speak throughout although he thought of this technology . For him, Symbio — a company specializing in fuel cells, founded in 2010 by Fabio Ferrari, in which Michelin entered the capital in 2014 before making it a joint venture with Faurecia in 2019 — is the “a gem, a diamond to keep”.

Sovereignty issue

For Patrick Koller, the hydrogen car will replace the shortcomings of the battery-powered electric car. According to him, they are of two types. The first concerns a sovereignty issue linked to metal supplies. “We will move from dependence on oil to a stronger dependence on metals in electrification »he answered reporters during the presentation of the half-year results of Forvia. “90% of metal refining is done in China. »he added. “While we only need platinum that can be recycled from catalytic converters » to make fuel cells.

Symbio: “We want to divide our production costs by ten”

France is recognized for its mastery of the entire hydrogen technology value chain. Thus, in the automotive sector, the sector produces tanks (an important and very expensive pressure-resistant element), depressurization valves and the fuel cell. Symbio has also recently inaugurated a factory near Lyon that will make it possible to increase the production of fuel cells on a large scale in order to lower their unit price. The French hydrogen industry also includes hydrogen producers such as Air Liquide, but also EDF and Engie, which have invested heavily in green hydrogen production capacity. Finally, one start-up, Hopium, even intends to produce high-end hydrogen cars, to complete the quasi-sovereign value chain. In addition, Forvia is not the only group interested in hydrogen in automotive matters because Plastic Omnium is also in this niche.

By buying German Hella, French Faurecia creates Forvia, a new car giant of the future

For Patrick Koller, there is another big issue with the hydrogen car. According to him, this technology has effectively solved the infrastructure problem caused by the electric battery. Motorway areas should be equipped with more fast charging stations, up to 80 per service station according to him. But the cost of this infrastructure cannot be borne by any economic model. “The investments required in the main axes are huge to meet the needs of a few days a year. », said Patrick Kohler.

Hydrogen will soon be cheaper than batteries

Speaking about the economic model, the boss of Forvia estimates that he can provide a complete chain of hydrogen traction for a 100 kWh car (high range of electric cars on the market) between 7,000 and 8,000 euros in 2030. “I don’t think battery technology will ever reach that price »he decided.

Patrick Koller recalled that he increased the number of contracts and that his order book for the hydrogen activity reached 500 million euros. The Stellantis contract is an excellent opportunity to build the road, especially in light commercial vehicles in Europe, but above all in American pick-ups, the most profitable segment of the market.

For Patrick Koller, the potential of this market is huge. He thought about the best way to improve himself “jewel » Symbio, specifically through an IPO. The principle has not yet been decided.

A solution to decarbonize the industry

Patrick Koller, who firmly believes in carbon-free movement (but not in 2035 contrary to the obligation adopted by the European Union), believes that hydrogen is the real solution. He qualifies, however, by insisting on the fact that the battery car has real arguments in many cases of use, especially exclusive urban mobility. But he is more than the questions of movement and judges that hydrogen will provide an answer to the decarbonization of the industry, and will make it possible to save energy.

Currently, however, the car market lacks models. Only Toyota, Honda and Hyundai sold the first cars, while waiting for the French Hopium. But for Patrick Koller, the first models will eventually come … Even Tesla will eventually start, he wants to believe …