I’ve talked at length about the resistance to fuel cell vehicles from a technological standpoint, but have not really delved into the psychological resistance to hydrogen cars. I was reading this article titled, “Fuel Cells Not Exciting Car Makers in Germany” and the first thing that popped into my head was not the technological hurdles, that the article is about, but rather the psychological hurdles.
As we already know, there are many battery electric vehicle (BEV) fans that want to see their chosen technology succeed at the expense to what they perceive to be their closest competitor, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. This is understandable.
If hydrogen cars succeed on a large scale, the fear is that the development of BEV’s will be retarded for many years and that resources will be taken away from this developing market in favor of FCV’s.
But, there is another group of people who also many not be thrilled with fuel cell vehicles (FCV’s) taking over the marketplace and I will call this group the gearheads (automotive enthusiasts). This is a group who love their cars and in particular the internal combustion engine (Got a Hemi in there?).
Let’s face it, the fuel cell is not very sexy compared to the internal combustion engine. The fuel cell just passively sits there while compressed hydrogen and ambient air are pumped through it and creating energy for the electric motors.
There is very little sound and no engine roar or backfiring of tailpipes. In other words, almost all fuel cell vehicles today are not hotrods. The FCV is not your father’s 1968 Camaro with a 350-block, modified stick and racing slicks. Nor is the FCV your nephew’s 2007 Ford Shelby GT500 with a 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 that puts out 475 hp.
With the exception of the Ford Fusion 999 that I talked about a year ago, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are not built to go tearing down a raceway. Fuel cells are quite, very clean and though powerful enough for the average user, may not get the gearhead very excited.
In fact, a typical conversation may go like this:
Person A: You got a Hemi in there?
Person B: No, a fuel cell.
Person A: What kind of fuel cell?
Person B: A big one.
Person A: Oh.