Eight major German companies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government to set up a nationwide hydrogen infrastructure by 2015.

The initiative, called “H2 Mobility”, includes companies, namely Linde, Daimler, EnBW, OMV, Shell, Total, Vattenfall and the NOW GmbH National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology.

The programme, the first of its kind worldwide, is aimed at commercialising electric vehicles that use fuel cells. It is also working towards significant expansion of a hydrogen fuelling stations network by 2011.

Minister for Transportation, Building and Urban Affairs Wolfgang Tiefensee said that the aim is to continue consistent and systematic promotion of electromobility based on batteries and fuel cells.

“Our aim is to establish the nationwide supply of hydrogen in Germany at around 2015 in order to support the serial-production of fuel cell vehicles.” Tiefensee said.

The plan consists of two phases. Phase I involves evaluating options for nationwide hydrogen fuelling stations as well as installing the stations and introducing measures to increase public support.

Under Phase II, the nationwide roll-out of hydrogen stations will be continued to support the introduction of a series of hydrogen-powered vehicles produced in Germany by 2015.