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Approval of hydrogen-powered motor vehicles

The production of hydrogen-powered vehicles, which are more environmentally friendly, seems to be expanding on the European car market. The European Commission considers it necessary to establish technical requirements for the type-approval of this category of motor vehicle in order to promote the free movement of such vehicles within the internal market.


Regulation (EC) No 79/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 January 2009 on type-approval of hydrogen-powered motor vehicles, and amending Directive 2007/46/EC (Text with EEA relevance).


This Regulation establishes rules relating to the approval of hydrogen-powered motor vehicles *.

To which vehicles does this Regulation apply?

This Regulation applies to:

It also defines a framework relating to the installation of hydrogen components and systems.

What are the manufacturers’ obligations?

Manufacturers are obliged to equip hydrogen-powered vehicles with hydrogen components and systems that comply with the requirements of this Regulation. They shall also provide the approval authorities with appropriate information concerning the vehicle specifications and test conditions.

What are the requirements for hydrogen components and systems?

Hydrogen components and systems shall comply with common requirements:

  • they shall withstand electrical, mechanical, thermal and chemical operating conditions;
  • they shall withstand expected temperatures and pressures during their lifetime;
  • they shall withstand the ranges of operating temperatures laid down in the implementing measures;
  • they shall be designed in such a way that they can be installed in accordance with the requirements of Annex VI;
  • they shall be manufactured using materials which are compatible with hydrogen;
  • they shall guarantee safe interoperability with stations supplying hydrogen.

Hydrogen systems shall be protected against over-pressurisation, while hydrogen components shall be marked in accordance with the implementing measures.

Transitional provisions

As from 24 February 2012, national authorities shall consider certificates of conformity for new vehicles to be invalid if the vehicles in question do not comply with the requirements of this Regulation. National authorities shall also prohibit the sale of new hydrogen components if the latter do not comply with the requirements of this Regulation.


Sustainable development and environmental protection are at the heart of the European Union’s objectives. Hydrogen used as a fuel could be an attractive alternative to the current fuels. It is therefore important to harmonise the technical requirements applicable to this type of vehicle in order to prevent national technical obstacles from limiting the development of this category of vehicle.

Key terms of the Act
  • Hydrogen-powered vehicle: motor vehicle that uses hydrogen as fuel to propel the vehicle;
  • Hydrogen component: hydrogen container and all other parts of the hydrogen-powered vehicle that are in direct contact with hydrogen or which form part of a hydrogen system;
  • Hydrogen system: assembly of hydrogen components and connecting parts fitted on hydrogen-powered vehicles, excluding the propulsion systems or auxiliary power systems.


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EC) No 79/2009



OJ L 35 of 4.2.2009


Commission Regulation (EU) No 406/2010 of 26 April 2010 implementing Regulation (EC) No 79/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council on type-approval of hydrogen-powered motor vehicles (Text with EEA relevance).
This Regulation supplements Regulation (EC) No 79/2009 by specifying the precise definitions of terms such as “hydrogen sensor”, “filling cycle”, “fitting” or “hydrogen filter”. It also lays down administrative provisions for EC type-approval of a vehicle with regard to hydrogen propulsion, and administrative provisions for EC component type-approval of hydrogen components and systems.

Last updated: 16.06.2010
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