The Future of Hydrogen Vehicles

POSTED BY Nick Maynard

The Rise of Hydrogen Vehicles

Due to government initiatives promoting the progress of the fuel cell industry through heavy investment in core technology, since the early 2000s, hydrogen vehicles have been in several prototyping and production stages. 

Industry players have made further significant advancements in establishing strategic subsidy policies in fuel cell plans, whereby nearly all types of modern vehicles now have fuel cell products or are prototypes. There is a wide range of application types due to hydrogen vehicles' simplicity and flexibility in the current landscape.

The Benefits of Hydrogen Vehicles Adoption

Traditional fuels have significant environmental externalities, including air pollution, water pollution, plastic pollution, and oil spills. The burning of fossil fuels, especially carbon dioxide, to generate electricity and power transportation, has far-reaching effects on the climate and ecosystems. Alternative fuels such as hydrogen reduce carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter gradually gain popularity and acceptance. 

Hydrogen Vehicles vs Electric Vehicles

As hydrogen production and infrastructure investments increase, hydrogen-fuelled vehicles will become a more sustainable alternative than electric vehicles. EVs may not depict an effective alternative to ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles because their emissions potential depends on how the electricity is produced.

Major automakers, including BMW and Audi, believe that a change in the political atmosphere could favour hydrogen vehicles over EVs. They are presently developing hydrogen fuel cell passenger vehicle prototypes in addition to their battery cars, as part of preparations to phase out fossil fuels. Before this, Japanese carmakers Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and South Korea's Hyundai were the only manufacturers developing and pushing for hydrogen fuel cell cars for years. Moreover, China is expanding its hydrogen fuelling infrastructure, and the EU wants to build more hydrogen fuelling stations for commercial vehicles. The future of hydrogen vehicles is expected to be expansive based on the latest developments.

Fertile Ground for Hydrogen Vehicle Developments

The ability to re-use existing ICE technology in hydrogen vehicles is a major positive factor for manufacturers, meaning that while consumer adoption has not yet happened at scale, manufacturers will continue to invest.
The EU has several hydrogen regulatory initiatives in the making. These initiatives will be vital to the development of a vibrant hydrogen market.

► Download the Whitepaper

Our latest whitepaper, Why Hydrogen Vehicles Are Ready for the Mainstream, explores:
  • Current Hydrogen Vehicles Landscape and Trends
  • Current Hydrogen Vehicle Initiatives
  • Forecast Summary

► Hydrogen Vehicles Market Research

Our latest research found:
  • The number of hydrogen vehicles in service globally will exceed 1 million in 2027, from just over 60,000 in 2022 – a substantial growth of over 1,500%.
  • The consumer market will lead the hydrogen vehicles space, with consumer vehicles accounting for over 60% of hydrogen vehicles in service globally in 2027.
  • The nascent development stage of many commercial vehicle types and the high average cost of hydrogen‑powered commercial vehicles, at over $70,000 globally in 2022, will be key factors limiting adoption.
  • The low availability of fuelling infrastructure as a key challenge for wider adoption, but heavy industry investment will be key to reducing this concern over the next 5 years.