Hydrogen Cars to Hit the Road This Spring

1

Although electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles have been considered the only plausible alternatives to conventional cars for a long time, and practically all of the world’s biggest car makers have been investing heavily in these technologies, and governments around the world have been trying to promote the use of such vehicles by offering generous incentives and financial benefits to those who choose to buy an alternative fuel vehicle instead of a gasoline-powered car, adoption has been lagging and sales have not been as strong as the auto industry had expected.

This is one of the reasons why some manufacturers have turned their focus to other types of alternative fuel vehicles, such as hydrogen cars, with the likes of Toyota, Hyundai and Honda leading the way in the development of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. These automakers are betting on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and are convinced that they are a far more viable alternative than electric and hybrid vehicles, due to the fact that they are cleaner, with water as their only byproduct, and they are capable of delivering a 300-mile range, which is a great advantage over electric cars and plug-in hybrids, that can’t get more than 80-100 miles.

With Hyundai planning to start selling its Tucson Fuel Cell SUV and the Intrado this spring at some of their dealerships in Southern California, and their Japanese counterpart Toyota intending to launch their own hydrogen-powered vehicle next year, it seems that the reality of hydrogen fuel cell cars is already here, which raises a few serious questions in terms of infrastructure, regulation, and how ready car buyers are to adopt these types of vehicles.

If the government wants hydrogen-powered cars to become commonplace, it has to work with car companies and hydrogen technology companies and fuel suppliers, to try and build a network of fueling stations and make refueling a hydrogen vehicle more practical and convenient. That’s why the H2USA was created, an initiative that has brought various government agencies, automakers, as well as representatives from the hydrogen and fuel cell industries, aiming to deploy an advanced hydrogen infrastructure, which car companies insist is necessary before they can start mass production of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. It’s becoming clear that automakers will have to put a lot of effort into this and make some serious investments, instead of waiting for authorities to provide the logistics for them, since businesses that have expressed their interest in building hydrogen refueling stations are not willing to spend millions of dollars in developing an infrastructure before there are enough hydrogen fuel cell cars on the road to make it financially viable.

In addition to the lack of refueling infrastructure, there is also the issue of regulation. While there are all sorts of taxes that owners of gasoline-powered vehicles are subject to, such as road tax, and federal and states gasoline taxes, hydrogen fuel cell cars will be exempt from such taxes, and will qualify for various incentives provided by the government. For example, owners will be eligible for a fuel tax exemption, tax credits, hydrogen fuel infrastructure tax credit, as well as free access to high-occupancy vehicle lanes.

Article appearing courtesy 2GreenEnergy.

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 Comment

  1. Arthur Leibell on

    The issue of a hydrogen fueling infrastructure can be solved immediately. Inasmuch as initially there will not be that many cars on the road for each manufacturer, each car manufacturer can have a refueling station on a corner of their dealership lot just as Costco does at each of its stores. Therefore with a 300 mile range, you could drive almost anywhere in the United States. As an example, leaving Miami, it is only 25 miles to Ft. Lauderdale, 75 miles to Palm Beach, from Palm Beach to Orlando, 159 miles and on to Jacksonville another 100 miles. You can hopscotch all the way up the east coast without a problem. Get the word out to these manufacturers so they can get us on the road.

Join the Conversation