Truck from hylane, powered with hydrogen instead of gasoline.

The transportation of the future

“Hydrogen trucks can deliver impressive practical benefits.”

Sara Schiffer and her team at hylane are taking the decarbonization of road transportation to the next level. Founded just two years ago, the German startup operates the largest hydrogen-powered truck fleet in Europe with support from DEKRA.

On its way to being a leading source of hydrogen-based transportation, Hylane is receiving a helping hand from DEKRA. “We chose DEKRA as a strategic partner because their organization is a one-stop shop offering everything we need,” says the company director, Sara Schiffer, “from track tests for the vehicles to training courses for the drivers.” Since 2022, DEKRA experts have also been providing a variety of services for the hydrogen-powered trucks in the local areas where the rental customers use them, as well as throughout the trucks’ lifecycle from when they are delivered to when they are taken out of service.

Schiffer, 30, went straight from finishing high school to working for insurance firm DEVK. That was in 2013. She would certainly never have dreamed back then that nine years on, she would be in charge of a DEVK subsidiary that rented out hydrogen-powered trucks. But that is how things have turned out, with the insurer wanting to help make the transportation of heavy goods greener.

»We chose DEKRA as a strategic partner because their organization is a one-stop shop offering everything we need, from track tests for the vehicles to training courses for the drivers.«

Sara Schiffer, founder and company director of hylane

Sara Schiffer, founder and managing director of hylane.

hylane: hydrogen truck rentals

Founded: October 2021

  • Staff: 13
  • Hydrogen-powered trucks: 42 approved, another 80 ordered
  • Customers: 20, from German transportation companies to retail chains
  • Vehicle classes: from 5.2-metric-ton box trucks to 40-metric-ton heavy-goods trucks

Schiffer experienced hydrogen-powered trucks on the road for the first time during a project in Zurich. This was the initial spark for an idea she took with her back to Germany: that organizations should be able to have their first interactions with the alternative fuel without taking on a risk to themselves.

The goal that drives her on is to reduce CO2 emissions from heavy-goods vehicles in line with EU rules. The technology does exist, but hydrogen-powered trucks are still expensive. At the moment, only a few transportation companies would contemplate buying this type of vehicle, not least because it is unclear whether hydrogen-powered or battery-powered electric vehicles will win out.

The solution? hylane’s customers only pay for the kilometers they have driven, so there is no risk to them with regard to investment or technology. However, they still receive a full package with maintenance, repairs, servicing, insurance, and access to hydrogen.

Powering this concept is the ten-person team headed by Schiffer. And it has proven successful: The first truck was approved at the end of 2023 and has already been joined by more than 40 additional vehicles. These are used by customers such as transportation companies DB Schenker and GLS as well as retailers like DM and Rewe.

The proof of concept has been demonstrated. But Schiffer, who has since gotten her truck driver’s license, knows that Hylane requires staying power as a pioneer in an emergent market. And with DEVK’s strong financial backing, her business has just that … so the success story can continue.

DEKRA services for hylane

  • Initial acceptance tests
  • Statutory vehicle inspections
  • Condition reports
  • Expert assessments
  • Driver training

Publicly funded

  • The German government is supporting hylane’s hydrogen-powered rental fleet…
  • …covering 80% of the difference in procurement costs relative to diesel trucks.
  • Hylane uses every cent of the money from the subsidy to offer attractive rental rates.
Illustration showing calculation processes on a com-puter.

Enhancing the security of AI models and systems

In a partnership with Bosch-owned startup AIShield, DEKRA will be enhancing the security of AI models and systems.

Multilane city expressway with smart vehicles.

“Reliable AI will revolutionize the automotive industry”

DEKRA joint venture CertifAI identifies risks and develops tests to mitigate them for the transportation of the future.

Exterior of a branch of Migros Bank in Switzerland.

Ensuring AI quality and reducing risk

With DEKRA’s help, AI models can be tested for reliability—for example, to calculate the residual value of vehicles.