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The United States will lead the way

Pike Research, a market research and consulting firm that focuses on global clean technology markets, conducted a study that predicts 670,000 fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) will sell annually by 2020.

Some auto companies are still focusing their development on electric vehicles (EVs), and as many other surveys indicate, the growth of electric vehicles are expected to surpass fuel cell vehicles. However, Pike Research's study goes against the grain saying otherwise. According to the study, the U.S. will account for 134,049 annual FCV sales of the total 670,000, putting them in the lead for fuel cell vehicle sales. China will be in second place with 129,241 FCV sales and Germany will be in third place with 126,783 total annual sales.

Some believe these are "overly optimistic" results and that Pike Research is assuming that the appropriate refueling infrastructures will be available by 2020. According to fuel cell industry analyst Dave Hurst, "The entire growth of the fuel cell vehicle market balances on two key elements: the growth of hydrogen gas refueling stations and improvements in the cells themselves."

While improvements of fuel cells is in the works, the possible growth of hydrogen gas refueling stations is here. Currently, there is only one personal, zero-emission refueling station for FCV's that runs on sunshine and tap water. It's called a residential hydrogen refueler, and the only one that exists is hidden on the Torrance campus of Honda R&D. 

The residential hydrogen refueler uses a 6-kilowatt array of thin-film cell solar panels that "powers a machine the size of a mini-refrigerator," which then "sips in H20 and breaks it apart into hydrogen and oxygen gases." Next, the hydrogen is pumped into the vehicle right at home with no fossil fuels or pollution included.

Alternative Fuel Manager for American Honda Motor Co. Steve Ellis says that "the ability to refuel a vehicle at home ranks third among the values consumers see of owning an electric vehicle," and "saw the same possibility could exist for hydrogen."

The residential hydrogen refueler is 25 percent more energy efficient than the electrolysis system Honda designed in 2001, and instead of operating with a mechanical compressor or storage tanks, it'll only require solar panels that fit the size of an average American roof. In addition, the refueler can "support typical driving habits, about 10,000 miles per year." 

Honda says it could take about five years before consumer's will see these systems on the road. Manufacturers such as Daimler and Shell signed an agreement in September acknowledging this five-year prediction. In addition, General Motors, Honda, ToyotaMercedes and some other automakers have noted that they plan to sell FCV's to consumers as soon as 2015.

A five-year production goal and a potential growing infrastructure makes Pike Research's figures seem more reasonable.



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unlikely...
By zodiacfml on 6/28/2010 12:14:21 AM , Rating: 2
this is only a little bit better than EVs as refueling/recharging is faster, good for long range driving over EVs.

once battery tech becomes better then the advantage of fuel cell vehicles quickly diminishes. if one needs a long range vehicle, they will opt for the internal combustion kind or anything hybrid.




RE: unlikely...
By bingbong on 6/28/2010 1:58:40 AM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately for very large amounts of energy such as excess power produced by windfarms and tidal plants, storing electricity in batteries is not viable. Although the efficiency is not so good conversion to h2 is better cause it could be used as a fuel in vehicles, in houses or reconverted on demand with high efficiency.


RE: unlikely...
By bingbong on 6/28/2010 2:03:33 AM , Rating: 1
Sorry this is not to say battery development is not important.
Although h2 is a competing technology it is also a complementary technology as fuel cell vehicles are also electric vehicles.
Hybrid batteries with h2 tanks then maybe??

Let's just get the hell away from polluting fuels. As well as fuels that are geographically scarce. Try standing in your garage for a minute with the door shut if you don't believe me... actually don't do that you might cause yourself harm.. Anyway if thats just one vehicle how about like in Asia where I live with more than 600 people per sq km, many driving polluting gasoline fueled vehicles.


RE: unlikely...
By shin0bi272 on 6/28/2010 6:30:09 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
once battery tech becomes better then

that's what they said in 1903 when the first electric vehicles came out...


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