According to a recent report from Pike Research, cumulative commercial sales of fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) will surpass 1 million by the end of this decade, generating $16.9 billion in annual revenue by 2020.
Although the market for FCVs has been slower to develop than many anticipated a few years ago, major auto makers – including Toyota, Daimler, GM, Honda and Hyundai – have all publicly stated that fuel cells are a critical piece of a complete clean vehicle portfolio.
The largest market for FCVs will be the Asia Pacific region, which will account for more than half of total worldwide sales in 2020. The most rapid growth, however, will come in western Europe, where sales will increase at a compound annual growth rate of almost 53%.
‘The limiting factor for the FCV market will be the availability of hydrogen infrastructure,’ says senior analyst Lisa Jerram. ‘If current plans for station construction are delayed or abandoned, the rollout of FCVs will be similarly pushed back.’
While these latest figures represent a downgrade from Pike Research's previous FCV forecasts, published in the first quarter of 2010, the cleantech market intelligence firm expects a step change in FCV production levels to occur in 2015. After a five-year ramp-up period, production from top auto makers will likely reach just under 58,000 in that year and accelerate rapidly from there, the company says.