IHS predicts more hydrogen power

IHS Automotive predicts that production of global hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) will reach more than 70,000 vehicles annually by 2027, as more automotive OEMs bring FCEVs to market.

The new report takes a holistic view on FCEV production, components and hydrogen and infrastructure markets. ‘Recently there has been an increasing focus on battery electric vehicles and battery technology, but FCEVs could also play a key role in zero-carbon mobility,’ said Ben Scott, senior analyst with IHS Automotive. ‘We are now in the third wave of FCEVs from OEMs and more Hydrogen Refuelling Infrastructure is beginning to be rolled out. This could be a ‘now or never’ situation for FCEVs in mass market mobility.’

There are only three FCEVs currently available for consumers to purchase/lease; Toyota Mirai, Hyundai ix35/Tucson and the Honda Clarity, all of which are only available in select markets. However, during the next 11 years, the number of available FCEV models is expected to jump to 17, as more OEMs add FCEVs to their product portfolios, IHS says. As expected, in the near-term, most FCEV production is expected to be in Japan and Korea, but by 2021, European FCEV production will take the lead globally. This indicates a shift in regional momentum for FCEVs as OEMs look to meet emissions targets. However, by 2027, FCEV will only represent less than 0.1% of all vehicles produced, according to IHS Automotive forecasts.

Although hydrogen has the advantage in terms of refuelling times and range, battery technology is catching up. Until this happens, the FCEV market has a window of opportunity to establish itself as a serious contender in long term zero-carbon mobility according to IHS analysts. If the FCEV market has not reached this stage in the next 20-25 years (ie moved past the early adopter phase), then FCEVs will remain only in niche applications.

While FCEVs might have the advantage of short refuelling times and long range, there is still the problem of hydrogen refueling infrastructure. To date, there are approximately 100-plus public hydrogen refueling stations globally. OEMs are currently defining the early adopter markets, and this is where hydrogen refuelling stations will be deployed.