The cars are equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell engine that generates electricity by combining hydrogen with oxygen, Source: Bundesheer/Carina KARLOVITS

Hydrogen cars for the Austrian army

Hydrogen cars for the Austrian army

The vehicles are part of the army’s sustainability strategy for 2024

Yesterday, Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner handed over five hydrogen-powered cars to representatives of the army. According to a statement by the ministry, this is the next step in the fight against climate change.

Minister Tanner explained in a press release that the federal government’s commitment to reducing CO2 is concrete and it spans all branches of the administration.

She pointed out that, although the hydrogen vehicles were a small step in the right direction, they would still push the army closer to reaching their 2024 sustainability goals.

The army, as a government body, is a major CO2 emitter

In terms of government carbon emissions, the army is a serious producer of greenhouse gases, especially considering heavier, fossil fuel-intensive machinery. Finding fuel solutions for military vehicles could have quite a significant impact on CO2 emissions, as well as the public’s perception of what cutting back on pollution means.

This has been on the minds of some EU politicians in recent months, as carbon goals do not exclude the army. Luxembourg, for example, announced a new overarching strategy to make the army more sustainable back in December.

Hydrogen cars fare much better than electric

The keys to the vehicles were presented to representatives of the military commands of Vienna, Styria, Upper Austria and Tyrol, as well as to the Ministry of Defence’s office of economics. They are to be used in everyday administrative tasks, to test their compatibility with military service.

The cars have shown impressive performance, both compared to electric vehicles and conventional internal combustion engines, especially in terms of carbon efficiency. They are equipped with hydrogen fuel engines and the only waste product emitted by them is water.

Furthermore, these hydrogen cars can reach a top speed of 179 kilometres per hour and their fuel capacity can carry them for 660 kilometres, compared to the standard for electric vehicles of 200 kilometres.

The most impressive thing that hydrogen-powered cars offer, though, is the fast refuelling time. The process takes five minutes on average, while in electric cars, that number usually ranges in the hours. Plus, the whole purchase of the five vehicles costs 365,000 euros.

One of the major hurdles to implementing hydrogen transport on a wider scale in both the civil service and the army is the lack of fueling stations. Currently, there are only five stations in all of Austria and all of them are operated by civilian companies.

According to the ORF, the Austrian public broadcasting network, the army is considering building hydrogen fueling stations of their own.



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