Will Fuel Cell Vehicles Succeed in the Market? Of Course Not


I’ll be 75 years old in 2030, so it’s likely that I’ll still be around to validate what I’m about to say: the idea, expressed in this article, that fuel cell vehicles will grow to $73.8 billion in sales (not $74 billion mind you) by that date – or any other — is preposterous.

The world will not be retrofitting its fuel delivery infrastructure (3.5 million square miles in the continental U.S. alone) to serve up hydrogen, nor will we be generating vast amounts of hydrogen by electrolyzing water or reforming methane. Why not? Because electricity is already ubiquitous, battery prices are coming down, and electric vehicles represent the capability to integrate more renewable energy (wind in particular) into our grid mix.

Add on top of that the concept of consumer acceptance, or, in this case, let’s call it “consumer repulsion.” The auto market is just now, after several years, realizing that EVs make sense – and here’s a case where the driver can unplug his toaster and plug in his car. How comfortable do you think the car-buying public is going to be with a fuel that exists only in a few places? I know people who think propane-based cars will become popular. That’s equally preposterous.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.


  1. Hmmm. Seems this article is more along the lines of a plea for attention. Notice I didn’t say trolling for attention.

    Perhaps this site would get more attention if it used disqus and open authorization. Those two tools make it so much easier to reply that people actually reply.

    And now to take the bait… Saying methane fuel cells will never be used is, well, troll bait. As we go green the excess electricity must find a use. This excess energy that can’t be put to immediate use will be converted to methane and then used in fuel cells. In fact that is already happening.

    Now go get disqus and openid installed on the site!