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Daimler Predicts FCVs Same Price as Diesel Cars by 2015

In May 2010, Toyota declared that they will be able to build and sell a fuel cell vehicle (FCV) for $50,000 by 2015. This remark was met with a lot of criticism and disbelief.

Now, Daimler has also jumped on the bandwagon saying that they will be able to build and sell their FCVs for about the same price as their diesel-powered cars by 2015. According to Daimler’s Herbert Kohler, head of e-drive and future mobility, “By 2015, we think a fuel cell car will not cost more than a four-cylinder diesel hybrid that meets the Euro 6 emissions standard.”

Kohler goes on to say about the builders of hydrogen fueling stations and their compressed H2 gas suppliers, “For gas-producers in general, fuel-cells are a very profitable business-case. I expect that there will be a network of 1,000 fuel-stations in Germany alone in the mid-term. This means that you will find a fuel-station for your fuel cell within 30 kilometers.”

So, besides Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, GM and Ford, Daimler is also betting that the European Hydrogen Highway will also be in place by 2015. Right now, Germany and a handful of other nations in the EU are going full steam ahead building hydrogen fueling stations like there is no tomorrow (and yet ironically building them for tomorrow).

And this “if you build it, they will come” philosophy will work if the fuel cell cars are inexpensive enough for the middle class to buy and if they will have easy access to multiple fueling stations in the area.

About Hydro Kevin Kantola

Hydro Kevin Kantola
I'm a hydrogen car blogger, editor and publisher interested in documenting the history and the progression of hydrogen cars, vehicles and infrastructure worldwide.

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7 comments

  1. Michael C. Robinson

    I too am critical of Toyota’s $50k price tag, but even at that price assuming I could pay that I would. Toyota has probably the best fuel cell prototype vehicles on the road where converting them to use laser metal hydrides or some other alternative hydrogen fuel system could only make them better. At $50k, Toyota is expecting people to spend what they equivalently would for two conventional vehicles. Cut it in half Toyota and the middle class will be able to afford FCHVs.

    I wonder with serious mass production what Toyota could profitably sell the FCHV adv SUV for? Nobody is promising to produce enough fuel cell vehicles by 2015 to make much of a dent in the vehicle fleets of the U.S. and other countries.
    Even Obama’s push for a million EVs won’t make much of a dent. To date, no proposal when it comes to alternative fuel vehicles has had a large enough scope.

  2. admin

    The base price of the 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV is around $42,000, so I don’t think $50,000 for a hydrogen version of this 4 years from now is unreasonable. But, you’re right that hydrogen vehicles won’t be widely adopted until the price is about half that much, which will be more than 4 years away.

  3. I would really like to give thanks a whole lot for the job you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same most effective job from you in the future as well.

  4. Michael C. Robinson

    Don’t be surprised if $50k is an overestimate and Toyota hits the market in 2015 at a significantly lower price. It is a good business practice to under promise and over deliver.

    GM has been cutting fuel cell stack size and cost significantly. I wonder where GM stands now despite all the emphasis on the gas/electric Volt?

    What Daimler is predicting doesn’t sound like $50k to me, but what do diesel hybrids cost right now?

    At least at $50k with the possibility of that price being slashed in half, Toyota fuel cell vehicles are almost in the ball park. This is getting tantalizing close to what an average person can buy. Toyota needs to shave $10k-$15k off the price to compete with and wipe out the gas/electric Volt though.

    What isn’t clear to me is how much less Toyota will be able to sell fuel cell SUV’s for when they are producing 100k or more per year? Building 10k vehicles doesn’t strike me as mass production.

    What is holding auto makers back after years of research from breaking out ahead of the pack with mass production?

  5. The blog is really nice one and full of information we appreciate the kind of information you have provided in this post.

  6. Technically fuel cells are a class of electric vehicles far superior to battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plugh-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). In comparison the superior fuel cell platform provides far greater range, refueling time in mintures rather than hours, better on-road performance and confort, and lower environmental emissions. BEVs and PHEVs will never attain equal pefornamce to a fuel cell Electric vehicles that are available to market today and latest studies show fuel cell provide the lowest total cost of ownership.

    In positioning fuel cells in the marketplace as the ultimate electric vehicle maybe the governemnt will diversify their billions of dollars of funding supporting an automotive battery portfolio to include fuel cells.

    To change the game in favour of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in Washington maybe the automotive companies just need to consider changing the hydrogen fuel cell name.

  7. Over the years, the fascination of the general media with the hydrogen car has lent a mythical “Jetsons” aura to the issue that has served it poorly. New technologies like hydrogen also show up in mundane applications where familiarity nurtures casual acceptance, moving all applications ahead faster.

    In the early 1900s, Homelite power systems did not precede gasoline cars but their popularity, along with the Maytag gasoline home washing machine and the farm tractor, did much to tease filling stations and repair garages out into rural America. That made inter-city car and bus travel increasingly feasible and gasoline car ownership (and thus manufacture) more attractive.

    In the same way, readily available hydrogen power systems for cell phone towers and back-up power for small community emergency services, supplanting diesel gensets, could—along with urban hydrolleys, and switch engines—could move all hydrogen applications ahead faster in a parallel, not serial, deployment scenario.

    But instead, pop culture has parked the hydrogen car, with its vexing, but unique, support ubiquity requirements (sales, repair and fuelling), squarely across the road to a hydrogen future, creating its own barricade.

    The gasoline car, though central to the gasoline economy in the last century, was still just part of that revolutionary system. Today, those of us who yearn to drive hydrogen cars might serve our ends faster by nudging our communities toward hydrogen fork lifts, generators, pallet movers, airport shuttles, telephone central office back-up, mining equipment, tunnel maintenance gear, ferries, streetcars and motorcycles.

    The sooner hydrogen is perceived as everywhere, the sooner it will appear in our driveways.

    The ubiquity issue necessarily makes cars a trailing, not a leading, hydrogen application. To the extent cars remain a disproportionate focus in the hydrogen transition, the more they will get in their own way.

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