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Daimler's Herbert Kohler Optimistic About Fuel Cell Cars Getting Diesel-Cheap in the Next 2 Years

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Elon Musk and Herbert Kohler closing Daimler-Tesla deal in 2009

The German automobile producer Daimler (the owner of the Mercedes brand) seems to be quite optimistic about the development of fuel cell cars in the near future. Yesterday I wrote about Tesla Motors’ CEO, Elon Musk, who was also enthusiastic about his own niche, battery-powered electric vehicles.

In an interview given to Automotive News Europe, Herbert Kohler, the head of e-drive and future mobility at Daimler, talking about lithium ion batteries, stated that “a few years ago, the price was at about 1,500 euros per kilowatt hour. In the midterm we should be at a level of 400 euros.”

He also says that by 2015 we’ll see fuel cell cars having the same price with four-cylinder, Euro 6 diesels.

Now that statement is indeed a powerful one, especially coming from the maker of Mercedes, but if we analyze things a bit more, I start thinking if this is not a relative comparison, remembering what Thomas Weber, Head of R&D said at the end of 2009.

Weber stated at the time that the prices of diesel cars will skyrocket in the next few years, and that would be because the automakers are forced to use expensive technology in making the new fine injectors and filters.

Ok, I don’t expect fuel cells to be dead-cheap anytime soon, but let’s talk numbers, if we’re talking about marketing and technology trends that are going to happen anyway.

Kohler added that Daimler will release a fleet of  “bring a four-digit-number of fuel cell vehicles to market” by 2013-2014, and that the fuel cell infrastructure will be made in collaboration with Linde.

“For gas-producers in general, fuel-cells are a very profitable business-case,” he said. “I expect that there will be a network of 1,000 fuel-stations in Germany alone in the mid-term. This means that you will find a fuel-station for your fuel cell within 30 kilometers.”

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