Is the fuel cell car dead? Not! Or as Borat may say, “The fuel cell car is – Not – dead.” The recent announcement by Ballard Power Systems to sell off its automotive fuel cell division to DaimlerChrysler and Ford, have several naysayers speculating that the whole automotive fuel cell industry is dead.
This baby out with the bathwater thinking however doesn’t hold water. When the early pioneers forged their way through the Old West, it was usually the ones who followed who actually set up the cities and towns. Ballard is a pioneer in the industry and has racked up enormous debt because of the expense of developing cutting-edge technology.
But, many naysayers, especially electric car advocates, will use any scrap of adverse news to declare that the hydrogen fuel cell car is dead. This is like saying that because Willie Nelson’s BioWillie is failing right now that the whole biodiesel industry is going down the tubes. In fact, the U. S. Department of Energy has stated that it expects biodiesel sales to increase by 2000-percent over the next 5 years.
Just because one company falters, it doesn’t mean the whole industry fails. DaimlerChrysler already has over 100 hydrogen fuel cell cars in service as fleet vehicles. GM will roll out 100 or more fuel cell vehicles next year. Honda has also hinted that they too will roll out a number (possibly 100) of their own FCX fuel cell vehicles next year and should confirm this next week at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The automotive fuel cell industry will be dead when the major automakers stop development on FCV’s. And, the indication from the automakers is that they are ramping up for rolling out more and more hydrogen cars before the public eye.