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ECN publication
Trends in Hydrogen Vehicles
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Hydrogen and Clean Fossil Fuels 3-12-2009
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-E--09-090 ECN publication
Number of pages: Full text:
25 Download PDF  

This report intends to provide an update of the latest developments that have recently occurred within car industry within the field of Hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) to date, October 2009.
In attempts to provide a clear and logical overview, the report starts with an overview of the OEMs that are actually active within the Hydrogen vehicle business, and provides an overview of the intensity of FCV activity per OEM. This overview shows that there is a pool of distinctively most active OEMs, and that others have tried to create exposure for themselves, but have not seriously been involved in in-house technology development in support of FCV manufacturing. Furthermore, some manufacturers chose a different path when it comes to using hydrogen for vehicle propulsion and use Hydrogen gas as a fuel for a conventional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE). In the field of FCVs, Most FCV activities are displayed by Honda, Daimler, Opel/GM, Hyundai/Kia, Toyota, Nissan and Ford. Volkswagen has given less priority to FCV development and has not been profiling itself as a very Hydrogen-prone OEM. Mazda and BMW chose to put their efforts in the development of Hydrogen fuelled ICE vehicles. Also Ford has put efforts in Hydrogen fuelled ICE vehicles.

After the active OEMs are mapped, an overview is given on how active they have been in terms of cars produced. It appeared difficult to come up with reliable estimations on the basis of numbers available for public. The sum of vehicles produced by all OEMs together was estimated on about 515 vehicles. This estimation however was much lower than the figures published by Fuel Cell Today (FCT). FCT projects accumulated vehicles shipped in 2009 around 1100 units, the double of the numbers found for this study. Communication with FCT learned us that FCT has access to confidential information from the OEMs. Especially the Asian OEMs do not provide transparency when it comes to FCVs shipped, however FCT claims to have insight in these numbers.
Lessons learned from driving the FCVs are in general encouraging. Durability and reliability improve with experience, fuel economy and range increase and costs are still going down. Generally it can be said that the OEMs are on schedule with delivering required improvements, though they also warn that they cannot make FCVs a success on their own and call for market stimulation by means of fuel cell refuelling station networks.

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