Hyundai Joins H2USA Partnership To Speed Up The Launch Of Hydrogen-Powered Cars
A number of the world’s top automakers have teamed up with the US Department of energy in preparation for the first wave of hydrogen-powered cars.
Included in the group are: Hyundai Motor Co., Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz unit, Nissan Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp.
The main focus of the public-private partnership will be on developing a hydrogen fueling infrastructure.
The group, which was first reported by the Automotive News in March, is called H2USA after the chemical symbol for Hydrogen.
David Danielson, an assistant secretary at DOE released a statement saying the merging of the major players in the hydrogen industry will allow fuel cell vehicle drivers the benefit of affordable fueling options once the hydrogen infrastructure has been put in place.
It is believed that fuel cell electric vehicles will not only lower emissions, but also help lower the dependence the world has on oil.
They are similar to electric vehicles in that they use an electric motor to turn the wheels.
The big difference is that instead of the power being stored in batteries, the vehicles convert natural gas or hydrogen to electricity, with the chemical process taking place inside a fuel cell.
To date, the only fuel cell electric vehicle available in the US has been the Honda hand-built FCX Clarity.
While the car has been around since 2008, the main sticking point is the cost of almost $1 million per unit it costs to build. There is also the Mercedes B-Class F-Cell, but it’s only available for lease in a few US markets.
The costs are falling, but prices are still expected to remain high, even as the cars become more readily available in the coming years.
Toyota has plans to sell its first fuel cell car in 2015, stating that it expect each vehicle to cost about $50,000 to build, with a sale price at under $100,000.
Hyundai To Launch The Fuel Cell Powered Tucson In 2015
Hyundai is also in the game with a fuel cell version of the Tuscon.
The Koreans plan on selling 1,000 units by 2015, by which time the next generation will be ready with an annual output in the region of 10,000 units.
Nissan, Mercedes-Benz and Ford Motor Co. went with a joint venture this year that will see them attempt to bring fuel cell vehicles to market by 2017.
One of the biggest issues facing fuel cell vehicles is the infrastructure, or lack thereof. There are currently only about 100 refueling stations in the US, with only 20 open to the public.
The push to put that infrastructure in place marks something of a U-turn after former Energy Secretary Steven Chu was openly critical of the technology.
In the period between 2004 and 2008, hydrogen technology received $1.7 billion from DOE as part of the George W. Bush administration’s FreedomCar coalition.
Other partners in the agency’s new project include the American Gas Association, Association of Global Automakers, California Fuel Cell Partnership, Electric Drive Transportation Association, Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, ITM Power, Massachusetts Hydrogen Coalition and Proton OnSite.