On May 6, 2010 I had talked about how Toyota was boasting they will be able to build $50,000 hydrogen fuel cell hybrid vehicles by the year 2015. Over the weekend Hyundai-Kia has taken up the gauntlet and stated that they can beat that price.
In 2008, Hyundai- Kia rolled out the Kia Borrego FCEV concept car that has range of over 400 miles using 3 compressed 10,000 psi hydrogen tanks. The Borrego’s supercapacitor also helps with cold starting and quick bursts of energy needed for passing other vehicles.
According to the Hyundai-Kia Fuel Cell Group manager Byung Ki Ahn, “Pilot-scale production of 1000 fuel cell cars a year will begin for us in two years. Our first cars won’t be fully commercialized [they will probably be leased , not bought outright] but they will allow us to make the final stages of development progress before we begin commercial production of around 10,000 hydrogen cars a year in 2015.”
Ahn goes on to say, “Toyota has a target to produce 50,000 fuel cell cars a year and expects to be able to price them at $50,000 [£35,000]. We’re confident we can beat it.”
So, the hydrogen cars have not rolled off the assembly line and the price wars are already heating up. This kind of competition will be good for consumers especially as the other automakers weigh in leading up to the 2015 rollout date that most of the other major players have agreed to accept.
But, this begs the question regarding if the carmakers rollout reasonably priced hydrogen cars in 2015 will the infrastructure be ready? The most likely answer is maybe. If government and business do not step up their games right now, we’ll see a bunch of hydrogen cars sitting at dealerships that no one will buy because there is no place to refuel them.
A repeat of the crushing of the electric car may follow. This is 5 year notice for government and industry not to let this happen. Do you think they will listen?