Annual global sales of fuel cell passenger cars and buses are slated to exceed 228,000 by 2024, according to a report from Navigant Research.
The report says that Toyota’s introduction of the Mirai, the company’s first production-level fuel cell car, has thrust fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) back into the spotlight. The report adds that while the performance of FCVs makes them ready for commercial launch, the industry is still focused on the two key requirements for larger-scale market introduction: 1) driving down vehicle costs to be competitive with battery and hybrid vehicle technology and 2) developing the hydrogen infrastructure necessary to fuel the vehicles.
“Commercial FCVs are finally available to drivers in select markets, with early indications of real customer interest and signs that manufacturers are getting serious about pricing FCVs to compete at the premium-vehicle level,” says Lisa Jerram, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “Automakers serious about fuel cell technology are expected to tackle the fueling infrastructure problem head on, with much needed investments in station build-out.”
Until the infrastructure is available, the market for FCVs is expected to remain supply-constrained, with vehicle production at low levels, according to the report. To facilitate the creation of FCV infrastructure, automakers are collaborating with new partners in retail fueling and hydrogen supply.