Hydrogen vehicles are more than just a dream that won’t die, but are getting closer to production than ever before. Hydrogen just could be the perfect fuel, and advances in production of hydrogen as well as hydrogen fuel cell [HFC] technology have made it possible to realize a clean transportation future.
Just last week, Toyota and BMW announced they would be licensing Toyota HFC technology to BMW to bring an HFC vehicle to market by 2020. Both BMW and Toyota have HFC concept vehicles and even a few test vehicles already, but nothing ready for the general market.
In the wake of the Toyota / BMW venture announcement, Daimler has announced its partnership to bring HFC vehicles to market as soon as 2017. Now, the race is on, as Ford, Nissan, and Mercedes [subsidiary of Daimler] are also partnering to produce the next-generation hydrogen vehicles. Whoever brings hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to market first will have the market’s attention, much like Toyota Prius has captured and held the hybrid market since 1997.
The 2017 target isn’t that far off, in vehicle development terms, but there are still hurdles to overcome, especially infrastructure, including production, storage, transportation, and dispensing of extremely unstable pure hydrogen fuel. Hurdles aside, “we are convinced that [hydrogen] fuel cell vehicles will play a central role for zero-emission mobility in the future. This co-operation will make technology available for many customers around the globe,” said Thomas Weber, head of R&D at Daimler. [italics mine]