Volkswagen is working on fuel-cell cars but will not be joining Honda and Toyota in subsidising a hydrogen refuelling infrastructure to encourage their use, its research director says.
Ulrich Hackenberg said: “We are preparing the technology on the same level as our competitors but we wouldn’t go into production at the moment.”
The two Japanese companies have put money into hydrogen refuelling highways on the west and east coasts of the United States as well as contributing to a hydrogen infrastructure in Japan, where the Government says it wants fuel-cell vehicles to account for up to 70 per cent of total sales by 2030.
Hackenberg also confirmed that VW’s fuel-cell cars use Ballard fuel cells (“We are using Ballard as an engineering supplier”) and other parts using a folio of patents the group had purchased, but not from Toyota, which released its fuel-cell patents in a limited way at the beginning of the year.
Meanwhile, the VW Passat scooped the 2015 European Car of the Year award, with a huge margin of votes over the other six shortlisted cars.
The Passat’s 340-vote victory was 92 points ahead of the second-placed Citroen C4 Cactus and is one of the largest margins in 51 years of European Coty history. Mercedes-Benz’s C-class came third.
Announced on the eve of the Geneva motor show, the Coty award was judged by 58 judges from 22 different European countries. Whittled down from an initial list of 31, the seven-strong shortlist of cars was said by the president Hakan Matson to be one of the hardest ever to judge.
The Passat, though, came through a clear favourite in spite of the British judges (including from the Telegraph), rating the Citroen as the better car and putting BMW’s 2-series Active Tourer in second place, with the Passat in third.
This is Volkswagen’s third Coty award in five years; the Polo winning in 2010 and the Golf (on which the Passat is based) in 2013.
The full list of votes is: Volkswagen Passat, 340 points; Citroen C4 Cactus, 248 points; Mercedes-Benz C-Class, 221 points; Ford Mondeo, 203 points; Nissan Qashqai, 160 points; BMW 2-Series Active Tourer, 154 points and Renault Twingo, 124 points.