Daimler, Linde and Total have jointly opened Germany's first motorway hydrogen filling station at a service area in Geiselwind on the A3 between Würzburg and Nuremberg.

This links existing filling facilities in the metropolitan regions of Frankfurt/Main, Stuttgart and Munich with each other, forming a hub for electric fuel cell vehicles in southern Germany.

"Networking the national H2 infrastructure is the key to success for the market introduction of electric vehicles with fuel cells. Only then can they be a 'real' alternative for customers," said Herbert Kohler, research, sustainability and chief environmental officer at Daimler.

"That's why we are not only actively investing in the development of the next generation of vehicles, but we are the only car manufacturer to invest in the development of a nationwide network of filling stations in Germany."

Guillaume Larroque, director of service stations at Total Germany, said: "We see ourselves as trailblasers in building the hydrogen filling station infrastructure in Germany. We have demonstrated this with our commitment for over 12 years. Including Geiselwind, Total already operates seven of the 18 public H2 filling stations in Germany."

With around 90 stations set up in 15 countries, Linde operates the world's first small-series production facility for hydrogen fuelling stations in Vienna, where it uses its proprietary IC90 ionic compressor, which combines advantages in power consumption, maintenance and noise.

With 50 hydrogen filling stations, nationwide mobility between metropolitan areas along the main roads will be possible throughout Germany. Within this expansion programme, the Daimler-Linde initiative is participating in a total of 20 new H2 stations with a total spend of approximately EUR20m.