Hybrids and hydrogen
Villa Cora, perched on the hills above Florence, was commissioned by Baron Oppenheim at the end of the 19th century. It has sculpted gardens, suites, and an entire floor dedicated to Empress Eugenia, widow of Napoleon III. Villa Cora, it's safe to say, almost has it all. Almost.
What it doesn't have is charging infrastructure offering clean, renewable electricity for electric vehicles. Which became a bit of a sticking point since it's the location where we're hosting test drives for the Polestar 1. Using the opulence of the Villa as a counterpoint to the minimalist style of the Polestar 1 was one thing; having to use diesel generators to charge our electric performance hybrids would, however, have been unacceptable. We needed a solution.
The solution came in the form of a hydrogen fuel cell, developed by Siemens and GeoPura. Their hydrogen fuel cell is providing clean, emission-free power to the ten fast chargers and two rapid chargers that are in turn powering each Polestar 1, without relying on the local power grid.
The hydrogen fuel cell and the Polestar 1 aren't strangers. They first met at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed, where the cell powered all of the EVs (including the Polestar 1) in the First Glance Paddock, enabling the first zero-emissions Goodwood Hillclimb.
And this technology enables the production, storage, and transportation of clean and renewable energy (see sidebar for a breakdown). GeoPura and Siemens are the first to bring this end-to-end commercial setup to the world, showcasing what's possible when it comes to ecologically friendly charging solutions. "The elegant beauty around us at Villa Cora reminds us that we need magnificent electric vehicles such as the Polestar 1," states GeoPura MD Andrew Cunningham, "and we all need to seize the opportunity to enjoy a clean environment by using clean, renewable energy to charge these vehicles."
Villa Cora does indeed possess an elegant beauty. And now, it also possesses clean, zero-emissions charging.
Hydrogen fuel cell facts
The hydrogen is first created by using an electric current to split hydrogen from oxygen in water. The resulting hydrogen, when combined with oxygen in the fuel cell, causes a redox reaction that then creates electricity (along with heat and pure water, the only byproducts of this system).
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When in Rovaniemi
Do as the locals do. Words of wisdom that any seasoned traveler is familiar with. They don't just govern behavior, however. They speak to the importance of having an open mind, embracing new customs, and adapting to one's surroundings. There are equivalents in all languages. In English, one is told that “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” It counts for the Italian capital, just as it counts for northern Finland. Which is exactly where we headed this winter.