As the Obama Administration keeps trying to give body blows to the emerging hydrogen car market, yet another automobile company is stepping forward with their intentions of producing an H2 fuel cell vehicle (FCV) within the next few years, and this one also happens to be a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) as well.
Chinese automaker Shanghai Automotive (SAIC) has announced just like 8 other major car companies (including Toyota, Honda, GM, Ford and Daimler) that they too will be introducing a hydrogen-fueled FCV by the year 2015. Automaker Hyundai/Kia actually intends to push the commercial rollout of their FCV forward into the 2013/2014 time frame.
According to Stuff.co.nz, “But the general manager of SAIC’s new electric vehicle division, Pin Gan, says the Shanghai (a working title only) will employ the fuel-cell as a range extender for the battery system, in much the same way that General Motors uses a conventional petrol engine to recharge its batteries on the run. The system would extend the range of the electric vehicle from its current 150km to 500km, the same as a conventional petrol car … That cost is still likely to be prohibitive, with the car likely to cost roughly $80,000, although subsidies from the Chinese government would halve the cost to the motorist.
“The main enemy to fuel-cell acceptance is lack of infrastructure, but Gan says the car is likely to launch in five Chinese cities that will build the refuelling stations necessary.”
Now, I’ve talked about Chinese hydrogen cars before and the Sleeping Giant’s quest to dominate the market when it comes to green car technology. In fact, it should come as no surprise that SAIC has made this announcement since its automobiles are using General Motors fuel cell technology.
What will be notable however is how quickly the Chinese government will respond to putting up hydrogen fueling stations through their massive country? Will it be an all-out dash to the finish line or will they adapt the “cluster model” of hydrogen cars and fueling stations currently being adopted in the United States? Based on the above information the cluster model is the likely approach.
While it currently looks like the U. S., Japan and European Union are out front in this race to hydrogen car commercialization and implementation, we need to keep one eye in our rearview mirrors for China, because my brothers (and sisters), they are approaching fast.