Major Automakers Jump on Fuel Cell Bandwagon

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J.D. Power and Associates - February 11, 2013

Sev­eral automak­ers have cho­sen to form part­ner­ships and alliances to speed up devel­op­ment of afford­able vehi­cles pow­ered by hydro­gen fuel cells.

Find out what’s dri­ving these collaborations.

In the past few weeks, a num­ber of major automak­ers have upped the ante on fuel-cell vehi­cle (FCV) research by form­ing new part­ner­ships and alliances to speed up the devel­op­ment of afford­able vehi­cles pow­ered by hydro­gen fuel cells. Com­bin­ing research will shorten the time it will take to develop fuel cell cars and should also help reduce the costs, which cur­rently are very high.

Ford Motor Co., Renault-Nissan and Daim­ler Groups recently announced an alliance to share in devel­op­ing afford­able cars that can run on hydro­gen by 2017. The plan is to develop a com­mon fuel cell sys­tem that will reduce costs through scalability.

[Mike Van Nieuwkuyk, exec­u­tive direc­tor J.D. Power and Asso­ciates Global Auto­mo­tive]: “From my per­spec­tive, FCVs will encounter many of the same issues that con­front Bat­tery Elec­tric Vehi­cles (BEVs), specif­i­cally issues with price, infra­struc­ture (avail­abil­ity) and range.”

How­ever, Van Nieuwkuyk also points out, “I do think that FCVs seem to have a clearer line of sight on achiev­ing dri­ving range and pos­si­bly even pric­ing that is com­pa­ra­ble to ICE vehi­cles based on the claims of progress that are being dis­cussed. A dis­ad­van­tage that I see is that con­sumer trust will be an issue for the FCV, an area where the BEV is gain­ing greater acceptance.”

Read more on the ben­e­fits and chal­lenges of hydro­gen fuel cells.