Carmakers claim that large-scale production of fuel cell vehicles is more than a mirage. Photo via ideowl.
Wishing upon a star or throwing a coin in a well might make dreams come true, but when it comes to fuel cell vehicles, auto industry executives are hoping that chanting in unison will turn hopes into reality. The mantra from execs: “Fuel cell cars for sale by 2015.”
In the past few weeks, Ford, Toyota and Daimler have expressed and reiterated their commitment to bringing hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles to market in six years, with Honda pushing out its target date to 2018.
The US Department of Energy announced that it will be pulling the plug on fuel cell research and development—and California is threatening to slash its spending on building a hydrogen refueling infrastructure—but automakers are holding firm to their new timeline for hydrogen.
- Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche told Speigel Magazine in March that annual production of fuel cell cars will need to reach 100,000 units to be considered commercially viable, and that vehicle prices could be comparable to “premium” gasoline cars by around 2015.
- Toyota’s spokesperson John Hanson said in June, “Toyota is planning to go ahead with its program in certain world markets by 2015, if not sooner.”
- Speaking last week at the Edison Electric Institute conference, Ford CEO Alan Mulally saw 2015 as the date that fuel cell cars would go on sale. Mulally hedged when reminded of the US government’s cut in fuel cell research funding. “That pushes out the timeframe for commercialization,” he said.
- Dave Barthmuss, GM’s West Coast regional PR manager, said at same conference Mulally was at: “We don’t need any more breakthroughs to bring the cars into the commercial market by 2015.”
- Honda’s Steve Ellis, manager of fuel cell vehicle sales and marketing, told an audience at a National Hydrogen Association webinar this month that Honda is looking at 2018 as its magic date, but is already producing the FCX Clarity on a regular production line.
Waiting for a Miracle?
Honda is building its FCX Clarity on a regular production line.