Michelin’s e-service provider Watèa expands subscription offering with H2 fleet solutions
French tyre specialist Michelin founded Watèa two and a half years ago to offer fleet customers turnkey solutions for electrification. The corporate startup relies on a subscription model that offers electric vehicles with their complete ecosystem. The focus is on customers who want to switch to electric cars or light commercial vehicles of up to 3.5 tonnes.
The Michelin business unit promises “a one-stop service which includes hydrogen vehicles, charging solutions, maintenance & 24-hour assistance, as well as a range of digital services.” An all-inclusive monthly subscription guarantees that.
As early as 2021, Watèa spoke of expanding its range to include commercial hydrogen mobility in the future. The subscription also provides access to European, national and regional subsidy programmes. These include subsidies from ADEME (the French Environment and Energy Agency) and the French region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.
France strongly promotes the launch of hydrogen transporters. Michelin is one of the driving forces behind it. The Symbio fuel cell joint venture between Forvia, Michelin and Stellantis recently opened its first gigafactory under the name SymphonHy. “Hydrogen is confirming its increasing role in fleet electrification,” the Group is convinced. With the new service, customers could increase the availability of their fleet, as the possible applications are very similar to those of vehicles with combustion engines.
Meanwhile, the Watèa service for battery-powered electric vehicles will remain and be expanded further. “To make strides in decarbonising our commercial vehicle fleets, we must give our clients the very best in electrical technology. This is why, after a lengthy test and development phase, Watèa is poised to propose its offering for hydrogen electric vehicles,” says Pascal Nouvellon, CEO and President of Watèa.
The new service is in line with the new hydrogen strategy for decarbonising transport in France. According to Nouvellon, figures at national and international levels show that hydrogen mobility is playing an increasingly important role in the electrification of fleets. “Indeed, hydrogen electric vehicles enable users to bypass some of the constraints associated with battery vehicles: their autonomy is greater, but, more importantly, charging times are drastically reduced. We feel that today, in cities like Paris and Lyon, the hydrogen ecosystem is sufficiently mature, and demand from our clients is sufficiently strong, for this solution to be highly successful,” Nouvellon adds.
Tyre specialist Michelin is gearing up for e-mobility in its core business and beyond. At the end of 2020, the Group presented a summer tyre optimised for electric cars and followed this up in 2022 with a tyre cooperation involving Hyundai. Michelin is involved in the fuel cell sector via the Symbio joint venture mentioned above.