With electric car sales expected to rise, Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) are getting some friends in high places. Ford, Daimler and Nissan recently announced a three-way agreement to jointly develop a common fuel cell electric vehicle system. The ultimate goal is to “launch the world’s first affordable, mass-market FCEVs as early as 2017.” The planned common fuel cell stack and fuel cell system will be used by each company “in the launch of highly differentiated, separately branded FCEVs, which produce no CO2 emissions while driving.” BMW and Toyota announced a similar collaboration earlier this year.
FCEVs are electric vehicles that run on electricity generated from hydrogen and oxygen. Instead of recharging, FCEVs refuel on hydrogen. Their only output is water, making them zero-emissions vehicles. Though the U.S. currently lacks a reliable network of hydrogen refueling stations, collaborations like the one between Ford, Daimler and Nissan may set the stage for a network of fueling stations to fall into place. The automakers said in their announcement that the project “sends a clear signal to suppliers, policy makers and the industry to encourage further development of hydrogen refueling stations and other infrastructure necessary to allow the vehicles to be mass-marketed.”
Americans spent record amounts on gasoline in 2012. Along with industry investment, perhaps this is part of the reason electric car sales are expected to rise in the coming years. Sarah Murphy of Motley Fool reported that a new market study released by Pike Research “estimates 40% annual sales growth for electric cars, while forecasting general car sales growth at only 2% over the same period.” In a tough economy with high gas prices, fuel economy becomes vital for many.
Sustainable America supports innovation in automotive technology, especially as it applies to fuel efficiency and electric vehicles. Major automakers collaborating on technology that will put more (and more affordable) FCEVs with zero emissions on the road is an exciting development!