Wan Gang, vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and widely known as China’s “Father of Electric Cars, said in a recent press conference that China needs to strengthen its infrastructure for the distribution of hydrogen.
According to Gang, hydrogen fuel-cell technology is highly suitable for logistics and long-term transportation purposes.
We’ve shared several stories discussing GM-related hydrogen fuel-cell technology, like the SURUS concept, how GM could make a profit with fuel cells, and how a GM-Honda joint venture could help manufacture the technology. GM even produced a rather cool army truck called the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 back in 2017, entirely powered by the stuff.
Yet, here we are, halfway through the 2019 model year, with very little new developments in the matter. As we write this, there are only three driveable hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, mostly only offered to California consumers. These vehicles are the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell, the Toyota Mirai and the Hyundai NEXO.
Meanwhile, the number of battery-powered electric vehicles has grown exponentially over the past five years. GM currently sells the Chevrolet Bolt EV, with the Chevrolet Bolt EUV electric crossover coming soon. And back in November of 2017, GM CEO Mary Barra made it clear that the future of General Motors is electric, with an all-new architecture currently in the works to support battery-powered vehicles.
One of the reasons hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are having difficulty getting traction here in North America is the downright absence of available infrastructure. While the U.S. and Canada are busy readying up for electric charging stations in order to encourage the purchase of EV’s, efforts to increase hydrogen fuel-cell infrastructure are all but nonexistent. Hydrogen fuel-cell technology has also proven to be far from profitable so far.
And it’s the same story in China, where battery electric vehicles are leading the alternative fuels race. However, Wan Gang still sees potential in fuel cells. As a matter of fact, he is leading a research team to plan China’s new energy vehicle development over the years 2021 to 2035.
China is currently the world’s largest new energy vehicle market (NEV). Through all of 2018, NEV sales jumped almost 62% on Chinese soil. Wan believes that if hydrogen fuel-cell technology is supported by the government, and applied to commercial use first, infrastructure will increase and manufacturing costs will drop, allowing it to flourish.
“Experience tells us the most important thing for developing hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles is to build infrastructure that integrates hydrogen production, storage and transportation”, he said during the conference.
Do you think there’s still a future in hydrogen fuel-cell technology? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.