High Cost and Lack of Infrastructure Limit Fuel Cell Powertrains to Niche Applications

by Kevin Mak, Mark Fitzgerald, Kevin Li | Feb 28, 2017

Demand for Fuel Cell Light Vehicles Will Remain Under 500,000 Units/Year in 2025

Boston, MA - February 28, 2017 - At this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, auto makers and energy companies announced the formation of the Hydrogen Council.  The Council promised the investment of $10B towards the development of hydrogen fuel cell powertrain technology.

The Strategy Analytics report, “Hydrogen Council Boosts Fuel Cell Powertrains, But Demand Still Limited by High Cost and Lack of Infrastructure,” considers the market potential for fuel cell powertrains in the new light vehicle market.

Click here for the report: http://bit.ly/2ltCHAt

Fuel cell technology can offer consumers a powertrain that emits no tailpipe greenhouse gases and harmful pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, but without the range anxiety found in battery electric vehicles. However, fuel cell powertrains are complex systems that also require the use of costly materials, such as platinum in the fuel cell anode and carbon fiber to produce the hydrogen fuel tanks. Furthermore, a whole new hydrogen infrastructure is required and it is costly both to produce the fuel and to build the fueling stations.  As a result, Strategy Analytics expects that demand will be limited to niche applications.


Kevin Mak, Senior Analyst at the Automotive Practice of Strategy Analytics, said, “Fuel cell powertrains can occupy an important niche where delivery and taxi fleets require a rapid turnaround (instead of waiting for EVs to recharge) and where large delivery vehicles would otherwise require costly battery packs. However, without the necessary cost reductions, fuel cells may not even reach this level of demand to make a meaningful impact towards mandate compliance.” 


“While some governments are investing in infrastructure and incentivizing fuel cell vehicle purchases, auto makers are developing new fuel cell designs with reduced requirements for costly materials and with increased power density to raise efficiency and enable small form factor.” Mak added, “More importantly, strategies are beginning to take shape to bring about economies of scale. They include the use of modular, platform designs for fuel cell stacks, so that the different requirements of auto makers and vehicle applications can be accommodated by adding more fuel cells. Strategies also seek to consolidate fuel cell production to lower unit cost.”


About Strategy Analytics

Strategy Analytics, Inc. provides the competitive edge with advisory services, consulting and actionable market intelligence for emerging technology, mobile and wireless, digital consumer and automotive electronics companies. With offices in North America, Europe and Asia, Strategy Analytics delivers insights for enterprise success.www.StrategyAnalytics.com 


European Contact: Kevin Mak, +44 (0)1908 423 644, kmak@strategyanalytics.com

US Contact: Mark Fitzgerald, +1 617 614 0717, mfitzgerald@strategyanalytics.com

China Contact: Kevin Li, +86 186 0110 3697, kli@strategyanalytics.com  


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