FCCP - Fuel Cell Cargo Pedelecs

Project Summary

Today, 75% of Europeans live in cities and suffer from air and noise pollution and traffic jams. The transport sector in European cities currently causes up to 50% of emissions and 30% of vehicle kilometres*, thus is one of the major contributors to this issue. Due to expanding e-commerce, the last mile delivery has fundamentally changed. Goods are increasingly ordered online and delivered to the customer’s private address. More frequent but smaller parcels to decentral destinations are increasingly replacing the typical A2B transport from factories to shopping centres. Cargo pedelecs provide a veritable answer to the evolved requirements of last mile delivery. However, modern batteries cannot supply sufficient energy and fail in low temperatures which limit the potential of this promising concept. In contrast, the emission-free fuel cell technology of DLR provides significantly more energy until at least -20°C, is refilled within seconds and is twice as durable than batteries at comparable costs. With these characteristics, one fuel cell cargo pedelec (FCCP) can save 5,5 t CO2 p.a. by replacing combustion engine vehicles.** For efficient exploitation of this potential, this project builds on an innovative logistic concept, tailored for the performance characteristic of FCCPs and the requirements of today’s urban freight transport (WP T1), latest fuel cell technology (WP T2), as well as intense involvement of cities to foster and implementing FCCPs (WP T3). In line with this, one crucial output of this project is a transnational strategic concept concerned with the best integration of emission free FCCPs in logistic delivery chains, including innovative technology and sustainable urban development. This project will facilitate the multiplication of emission free FCCPs, as it provides relevant and replicable information to cities and the transport sector (WP C) to stay abreast of the fundamental changes in the transport sector, reducing CO2 emissions in European cities.


*Cf: Letitia Dablanc, Goods transport in large European cities: Difficult to organize, diffficult to modernize, 2006

** Assumed one FCCP replaces a half combustion engine van that emits 11 tones CO2 p.a.


Modern fuel cell instead of battery

As alternatives to batteries a fuel cell system tailor made for the mobile application in cargo pedelecs is tested within this project. The objective is to demonstrate the potential of FCCPs to replace combustion engine vehicles and constantly reduce CO² emissions, traffic jams and delays in deliveries. In comparison to batteries the fuel cell technology provides more energy and has less weight although having the same dimensions. Furthermore, the hydrogen tank can be refilled within seconds and suffers no performance losses at subzero operation in winter. As a result, with the fuel cell technology tailored by the German Aerospace Center, cargo bikes can be operate all seasons with constant performance.


Since air pollution, traffic jams and delays in delivery are challenges for all European metropoles, FCCPs will be validated under the different conditions of the European partner cities.


 Development and test of fuel cell technology

For the development of the used fuel cell technology, 36 FCCPs will be tested for one year through all seasons within the partner cities. These cities represent different environmental conditions and influencing factors standing for most European cities. During the test operation the data of the fuel cell systems and cargo bikes will be collected and analyzed in order to improve the FCCPs for the intended rollout subsequent to this project by the projected DLR spin-off H2range.

 Because of the modular layout up to three hydrogen tanks each containing 300g of the substance can be integrated in the cargo pedelec. Enough for approximately 10 hours of continuous operation at 250 W. The estimated range of one tank is about 150 kilometers depending on territory, mode of operation as well as the fitness level of the driver.


Innovative logistics concept with European cities

Due to the constantly and rapidly increasing e-commerce, more and more goods are delivered in small quantities to individual postboxes instead of the consolidated transport of huge volumes to large shopping centers. Therefore, the project partners from logistic services, online retailers, research institutes and currently four partner cities (Aberdeen, Groningen, The Hague and Stuttgart) develop together a logistic concept, which is tailor made for the requirements of today´s “Last Mile”- deliveries and the performance specifications of the fuel cell technology.


Fuel cell-powered cargo bikes for urban use

Posted on

On the sixth of October 2021 in Stuttgart, there was a press release about the project in the German "Treffpunkt Kommune", a service portal of "der gemeinderat", the renowned trade journal for decision-makers in local politics, local governments and municipal companies. The BBSR (Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development) supports the DLR in the european project FCCP. Read More


f-cell 2022

, Stuttgart (Germany)

The f-cell is an event, where the hydrogen and fuel cell community meets to discuss technological advances, transfer knowledge and tap into international markets. It offers an ideal industry platform for experts and newcomers alike, in a modern exhibition and congress center in one of the strongest economic regions.
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