An upcoming report from Information Trends, the market research, consulting and advisory services firm based in the Washington D.C., has confirmed that by year-end 2017, a total of 6,475 hydrogen (H2) fuel cell vehicles have been sold globally since 2013 when the vehicles first became available commercially.
The report, ‘Global Market for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles, 2018’, states that over 50% of these vehicles were sold in California making the state a model of success in the deployment of the technology. Of the remaining countries, the lion’s share went to Japan which is at the forefront of H2 station deployments.
Among automakers, Toyota has been reported as the most successful, accounting for over 75% of the sales. Moreover, H2 fuel cell vehicle sales in 2017 were more than double the total sales in the previous years.
“H2 infrastructure is coming along steadily, albeit slowly”, said Naqi Jaffery, the lead author of the report. In northeast US, H2 station buildout is gathering momentum, giving automakers a second market in the US.
According to Jaffery, a respectable H2 fueling ecosystem will not be ready until 2020. The slow buildout of the H2 stations has given an opening to battery electric vehicles whose sales are rapidly gaining ground.
Jaffery, who is bullish on the future of H2 fuel cell vehicles, said battery electric vehicles will be short-term beneficiaries of the movement towards zero-emission vehicles. However, as the H2 infrastructure evolves, fuel cell vehicles will pick up traction.
By 2021, at least 11 automakers will have rolled out H2 fuel cell vehicles, including Toyota, Lexus, Hyundai, Kia, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Other entrants in this space include Tata Motors, Pininfarina S.p.A. (owned by Mahindra & Mahindra) Riversimple and the RONN Motor Group.