Jos van Stratum, sponsor of the Hydrogen Challenge:
‘HYDROGEN HAS THE FUTURE’
Eindhoven-based car company Ebby Road is sponsor of the Hydrogen Challenge, which will be held at the end of this year. The name of the company and the business model of owner Jos van Stratum are striking. He only sells used Toyota hydrogen cars, model Mirai. He is therefore one of the pioneers in the young hydrogen world. Or rather, he is a pioneer because he drove the first private hydrogen car in the Netherlands.
First of all the name of the company, Ebby Road. Ebby is the first name of his ten-year-old daughter and Road is a nod to Abbey Road in London, home to the famous studios of the same name and which recorded The Beatles legendary albums. And tourists in pre-corona times crossed the road every day on the famous zebra crossing, sometimes at the risk of their own lives.
Jos van Stratum decided to sell his age-old meat wholesaler for the catering industry 10 years ago. However, he remained employed in the company and took care of the meat transport. He sold the diesel powered refrigerated trucks and purchased more environmentally friendly Mercedes Sprinters running on CNG (natural gas). “I did that for 5 years. My approach had less added value than I had previously estimated. Catering entrepreneurs did not see that I was doing a clean job. They didn’t look at that at all. It was important to them only if they received their goods in time. I may have been a little early with this approach.”
“Actually, that is now also the case with the sale of the Toyota Mirai’s on hydrogen. I’m an early adapter, I’m trying to get hydrogen car sales off the ground. There are only five hydrogen filling stations in the Netherlands. Six new filling stations are planned for this year. I have bought several young used cars because I expect to have discovered a gap in the market. My cars are actually like new. Normally, as a new model, they cost 80 thousand euros. I sell them for about half the new price in the Netherlands, depending on the year of construction and mileage. I’ve already sold eight, to people who also want to be at the forefront of new developments. Want to drive clean. They often have years of experience with Toyota and want to continue driving this brand. The Mirai is a fantastic car. And cheap to maintain. You don’t pay road tax until 2025 and zero bpm. And it is also very interesting for business drivers, because they only pay 4 percent additional tax over the entire list price. And you have almost no maintenance. Only new tires and new brake pads and two filters replaced every few years. No more.”
“It would of course be nice if everyone drove on hydrogen. Only clean water comes out of the exhaust. You don’t pollute the environment. I really believe in hydrogen. A hydrogen car is clean and safe. The manufacturers have the technology under control. Refueling, driving and storage are safe. Toyota has also gone through a crash test. Even with a roll-over crash test, the H2 tanks were still in order. Last week I read a report about an electric car catching fire. Not just once but several times. Thanks to the lithium batteries, the fire flared up again and again. ”
SUPER BEAUTIFUL INITIATIVE
“Why sponsor? I embrace the initiative of the Hydrogen Challenge. I think it is good that they want to give more publicity to this type of car. But of course I also have a commercial interest. I am raising awareness of my company and hope to sell more cars to the target group. Because the participants in the Challenge are hydrogen minded. I do not participate myself. I already have a lot of experience as a driver of a hydrogen car. I think it is a great initiative, but I like to leave it to other people.
Ultimately, more people will opt for a hydrogen car. There are already 250 hydrogen cars in the Netherlands. There are also trains and buses running on hydrogen and energy is being created in houses. So hydrogen has the future, just like ‘Mirai’, which means Japanese means for the future. “