Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) have something of a spotted history, with strong initial interest fading as battery electric vehicles (BEVs) rose to prominence. Even in the commercial vehicle (CV) sector, where long range and quick refuelling are major bonuses, hydrogen may not have guaranteed dominance. Once seen as the inevitable replacement for diesel in heavy-duty applications such as long-haul and drayage, FCEVs now face steep competition from battery-electric variants.
Question marks also rest on the validity of FCEVs as a means to decarbonise the transport sector; unless fuelled using green hydrogen produced using renewable energy, these vehicles would continue to carry a sizeable carbon footprint. Competition for green hydrogen will be fierce in the coming years, and the automotive sector is but one industry clamouring for the fuel. The industrial sector could well take most of the spoils, given the inherent challenges of distributing the fuel and setting up off-site hydrogen stations from which trucks can refill.
Easy to use, tough to sell