Searching for a fuel cell USP
Oct 12, 2016
Toyota and Daimler presented at a recent IDTechEx conference on their fuel cell vehicle programs. A questioner asked them to reveal the unique selling proposition of fuel cell vehicles. They said there is no USP. In earlier years the industry had said only fuel cell vehicles could cost-effectively provide heavy duty cycles or long range. Now a third response is being put forward.
In late 2016, the statement "A big thing about fuel cells is they actually offer a lot of advantages to fit in to different types of vehicles." comes from Brian Williams from Toyota Motor Corporation who says a key advantage to fuel cell over battery-power is that the system can easily be scaled up for any vehicle or range. That is why it is more fitting for i.e. buses and even semi-trucks in his opinion. So where are the orders? There are plenty of orders for even the largest buses and semi-trucks in battery pure electric form, one at around $1 billion and their electricity is increasingly green whereas the more expensive fuel cell systems with inadequate charging infrastructure still use hydrogen from fossil fuels. Tesla sold the number of Tesla 3 cars in two weeks that the fuel cell car sellers hope for over ten years. The window of opportunity for fuel cells in mainstream vehicles is now closing. Any more slipped timescales and some big fuel cell writeoffs will be looming in the opinion of IDTechEx. See the IDTechEx report, Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles 2015-2030: Land, Water, Air.
Top image: Toyota