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Navigant: FCVs, PEVs ‘Perpetually’ Linked in Public’s Minds

Fuel cell vehicles will continue to be compared to plug-in electric vehicles for the foreseeable future, according to a white paper by Navigant Research.

Despite major players including Honda, Hyundai and Toyota recently making, or planning to make, FCV vehicle launches, in the minds of the media and the public, FCVs will be “perpetually” tied to PEVs, according to The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Industries: 10 Trends to Watch.

Given that FCVs are coming into a market where commercial PEVs have had a four-year head start, automakers can expect the question in the minds of the media and the public to be: how does this stack up to a PEV and what does an FCV offer that a PEV does not?

Tesla, in particular, has become the model PEV in the minds of many; FCVs will struggle to compare to Tesla simply because it is a premium model and the FCVs being introduced are not from automakers that mainly operate in the premium segments.

Furthermore, hydrogen infrastructure stakeholders must prove they can build fueling stations, according to the white paper. The next 18 months are “do or die” for infrastructure buildout for FCVs. With FCVs coming to the
US, Europe, Japan and South Korea, governments are now investing heavily in hydrogen stations. The pressure is going to be on the various stakeholders to show that they can build stations cheaper than in the past and much, much faster. This will have to be a concerted and coordinated effort from energy or gas companies, hydrogen companies, companies providing the various components (compressors, electrolyzers, and dispensers), local authorities, and funding agencies, according to Navigant.

In September 2013, California committed to invest up to $20 million per year to support construction of 100 stations. In May, the California Energy Commission announced it had already selected recipients of up to $46.6 million in awards to build 28 stations, the white paper says.

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