Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle landscape truly changed, says longtime expert

The current fuel-cell landscape represents an important change from past efforts to promote hydrogen cars.

Morgan Segal/Hyundai Motor America /AP/File
The photo provided by Hyundai Motor America shows the 2016 Hyundai Tucson.

Hydrogen fuel-cell cars are currently available to consumers, but only in small numbers.

The Hyundai Tucson and Toyota Mirai are on sale in certain regions of California, and will soon be joined by the 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell.

The three manufacturers only plan to sell very small volumes of fuel-cell cars over the next few years, and lack of fueling infrastructure restricts sales to the Golden State for now.

But the current fuel-cell landscape represents an important change from past efforts to promote hydrogen cars, according to one expert.

There has been significant positive change in the hydrogen sector compared to even a decade ago, Dr. Joan Ogden—a UC Davis professor who studies energy policy—said in an interview with Autoblog Green during the recent launch of the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid.

Interest in hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles has waxed and waned over the years, but Ogden believes "there is something different this time."

That something is the framework for a long-term commitment to developing fuel-cell cars, and the fueling infrastructure needed to support them, she said.

Part of that is due to the technology becoming more "real" through the development of more prototype cars, and the low-volume production Tucson Fuel Cell, Mirai, and Clarity Fuel Cell.

At the same time, development of policies for fuel-cell adoption is becoming more focused, she said.

Regions such as Southern California, and parts of Germany and Japan now serve as "lighthouse cities" where efforts to deploy fuel-cell cars in large numbers can be concentrated.

Helping to accomplish that is greater coordination among stakeholders in those regions, including carmakers, fueling-network operators, and governments, Ogden said.

As more hydrogen fuel-cell cars hit the road, advocates are gaining more knowledge about how they work and what can be expected of them, inspiring greater confidence in potential investors, she noted.

The growing fuel-cell fleet is also exposing technical issues, including problems with fueling-station reliability, and the need for accurate metering of hydrogen dispensed into vehicle fuel tanks.

It also remains to be seen whether fuel-cell cars can compete with battery-electric cars, and whether a suitability low-emission process for large-scale hydrogen production can be found.

Given time, Ogden is confident these issues can be addressed.

The biggest change in the state of fuel-cell cars may be that Ogden also feels confident that advocates will actually get time to do that.

This article originally appeared on GreenCarReports.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle landscape truly changed, says longtime expert
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today