Hyundai, Mercedes, Nissan, Toyota Join DOE in Fuel Cell Push

Automotive News reports here that Hyundai, Mercedes, Nissan, and Toyota have been working with the U.S. department of energy to prepare for the first hydrogen powered cars. This public-private partnership will help save consumers more money and make the cars more affordable for the masses. This will also help cut emissions if a big push towards these alternative vehicles is used.


As of now only the Honda FCX Clarity and the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-cell are used in certain U.S. markets. With the help of the DOE there are hopes of increasing the number of car options using fuel cells. A problem with these vehicles is there are not many fueling stations making them impractical for consumers. New partnerships with various companies make the use of fuel cell cars more attainable in the near future. Nissan, Mercedes-Benz and Ford unveiled a joint venture with the intent of bringing fuel cell vehicles to market by 2017.

7 comments to Hyundai, Mercedes, Nissan, Toyota Join DOE in Fuel Cell Push

  • Stephen Chu at DOE tried to kill all fuel cell programs based on evaluations of the technology as either commercially unworkable or distinctly less feasible than other technologies. So I’m surprised to see companies still working in this area — both hydrogen storage and the cost of “stacks” (which need precious metals as catalysts) are barriers, as is the need to keep the fuel cell portion above freezing.

  • tyler

    As the professor mentioned, I find it odd that companies are still pursuing this technology. Although I have not heard of any “issues” with the Honda and Mercedes vehicles on the roads today, the cost to make them feasible in terms of infrastructure would be enormous! unfortunately, it is a good idea held back by prohibitive costs. Although, it does cause you to wonder how electric cars like Tesla’s Model S and the Nissan Leaf are “making a go at it.” Perhaps the ability to recharge at home is the sole determining factor?

  • Have they taken account of the huge amounts of electricity required to obtain the hydrogen plus the storage and transport problems and you may as well just bung the power into a battery?

    • Those issues are well known, so you are quite correct in wondering why companies continue to pursue fuel cells.

      Yet at the Industry Studies Association conference at the end of May, one presentation was a model of shifting demand for various types of vehicles, and included fuel cell vehicles at the request of a firm sponsoring their work. [Alan Jenn, Inês Azevedo and Jeremy Michalek, “Effects of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards on vehicle fleet mix & Unintended consequences of pairing CAFE with other incentives” available for download as part of Session 3.5 at http://www.industrystudies.pitt.edu/kansascity13/program.html]

      Furthermore, as per my comment on the blog post, I had thought the US Dept of Energy had killed support for that area. Apparently not. But I’ve heard nothing of a breakthrough — though I expect a normal “learning curve” reduction in costs with engineering experience, my sense is incremental improvement is not enough. Now there may be a regulator angle that creates huge CO2 credits or other offsets so great as to make selling FCVs profitable. If so, I’ve not heard of it.

  • Greta news, but still hope tat hydrogen cars will be much faster than electric are. Because as for me, slow speed and problems with batteries are the top problems, that still prevent me for bying an electric car. If these are solved in hydrogen, would be a full step forward in eco-friendly technology

    • Electric is slow? – an electric motor provides torque throughout its speed range. The initial Tesla models sells exactly for that reason. Batteries remain expensive and heavy, and hence range on a single charge is limited (but within the average commuting distance in the US). But to my knowledge – the Prius has been on the road a long time now – battery life is turning out not to hold unpleasant surprises.

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