We think it is fair to say that pure electric vehicles have not panned out as both government and auto industry bigwigs had hoped. This has both parties switching gears, and perhaps even getting on the same page for once. A new report says that the Department of Energy is planning to push hydrogen fuel cell technology, and some automakers are optimistic about this shift.
The Obama Administration pushed hard for electric vehicles, but the goal of having 1 million EVs on the road by 2016 seems extremely unlikely at this point. Instead, the Department of Energy is forming a commision called H2USA, which will work with automakers to figure out how to get a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle on the road.
Big automakers are already forming hydrogen fuel alliances. BMW and Toyota recently teamed up on hybrids, diesels, and fuel cells, and a triple alliance between Ford, Mercedes-Benz, and Nissan is working towards selling an affordable fuel cell car by 2017. Automakers seem to believe in fuel cells more than electric cars these days.
While the commission’s tasks haven’t been fully fleshed out, one possible problem for them to solve is the lack of hydrogen fueling structure. While independent companies have talked about “hydrogen highways” running up and down the coasts, the saturation will have to be much denser if fuel cell vehicles are to take off. Right now the only hydrogen fuel cell vehicle on the road is the Honda FCX Clarity, and you can only lease that. But if you build it, will the fuel cell cars come?
Automakers have teased the idea of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for most of the last decade. Could this change in government policy be the push fuel cell vehicles need to finally come to market?
Source: Automotive News