We spend 60 seconds with Jochen Hermann, Head of Development CASE and Development eDrive at Daimler AG.

Why is your company a part of the Hydrogen Council? Why do you believe this initiative is so important?

We firmly believe in e-mobility with fuel cell as a viable drive option. However, the successful commercialization needs a strong partnership and cross-sectoral teamwork. The Hydrogen Council unites partners from all major industry sectors. Together we underline the importance of hydrogen for the energy transition and send out a strong signal.

If the sky was the limit, what action would you like the Council to take?

Go beyond! The potential of hydrogen beyond the automobile – e.g. utility, industrial and domestic solutions – is manifold and requires the development of new strategies.

What are your company’s Hydrogen-related milestones for this year?

Our many years of experience with fuel cell technology pays dividends in our new Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL. The compact design of our fuel cell system is really outstanding and as a world’s first, we combine it with a large, additional lithium-ion battery which can be conveniently charged using plug-in technology. We are very proud to be able to hand it over to first customers in Germany this year.

What, in your opinion, is one of the biggest challenges facing Hydrogen technology right now? How does your organisation intend to deal with this challenge?

The biggest challenge does not lie in the maturity of the technology anymore. We see three major factors to decide on the success of the fuel cell in automotive applications:

Infrastructure, costs and – of course – customer acceptance. Part of the solution is the further development of our modular fuel cell system in order to get the costs even more down. Regarding customer acceptance we have already made excellent progress and will do further important steps with our all new Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL. Regarding infrastructure, Daimler is a shareholder of H2-Mobility, a JV which builds up hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in Germany.

If you could communicate one hydrogen-related message to the general public, what would it be?

When it comes to the future of mobility, zero emission technologies are an integral part of Daimler’s strategy. The importance of hydrogen goes far beyond the transport sector, extending into many branches of industry, especially the energy system for the storage of fluctuating renewable energy such as wind and solar.

What is the one key message that you would like to pass on to all Hydrogen Council CEOs & teams?

The automotive industry is in the middle of a huge transformation. Even if the battery technology is currently in the forefront regarding large scale market introduction at the moment – we are convinced that hydrogen will play a vital role in our future energy and transportation system and we have to prepare for this future already today. Battery and fuel cell form a perfect symbiosis. We are just at the beginning.

When we speak again in 2019 and are looking back at Hydrogen Council’s work this year, what would you like to be able to say?

Due to the intensive team work of the Hydrogen Council I am pretty sure that I will be proudly able to look back on a year of growth. As a result, the Hydrogen Council will have made another big step forward in underlining the opportunities of the H2 power for many different industries.