Now that electric vehicles are beginning to become more common, though still lack significant market share, automakers are turning to yet another alternative propulsion method: hydrogen fuel cells.
That’s the topic on this episode of Autoline, which sees Charles Freese, GM Executive Director, Global Fuel Cell Business, joined by Bryan Pivovar of the National Renewable Energy Lab and Steve Center, Vice President of Environmental Vehicles for Honda.
Are fuel cells ready for mass-market adaptation? Almost, the panel seems to conclude.
Some of the major hurdles of engineering and developing hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles have been overcome, such as varying temperatures, reliable technology and other caveats. What may be holding fuel cell powered vehicles back is affordability and the lack of infrastructure.
California has taken the lead on installing hydrogen fuel stations across the state, but it will take more than California’s commitment to the fuel for acceptance to grow. Last year, electric vehicles only accounted for 0.82 percent of market share and EVs are arguably easier to own than a hydrogen vehicle in most places.
GM and Honda in particular hope to remedy the affordability issue with a new joint venture to create mass produce fuel cell systems next decade. The goal is to provide the economies of scale needed to make the technology more affordable. GM has also revealed the Colorado ZH2, a fuel cell powered truck for U.S. Army testing. It will take the data from the army’s operations to further hone its fuel cell development programs.
Fuel cells aren’t science fiction anymore. They’re here to stay, but it’s likely going to take some time before gasoline is replaced by any sort of alternative propulsion. Grab a full dose of insight in the video above.