Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles could soon gain ground on electric cars in the race to develop zero-emission cars, according to a new report.
The auto industry is seeing a convergence of factors that make fuel cell cars more viable, according to the Institute of Transportation Studies at University of California, Davis.
Major automakers are pushing the technology. Hyundai began leasing its Tucson fuel cell crossover in Southern California earlier this year, targeting the handful of communities that have hydrogen fueling stations. Toyota and Honda plan to bring out their first mass-market fuel cell vehicles next year.
UC Davis transit experts say the key to this rollout is building clusters of hydrogen stations in urban and regional markets.
“We seem to be tantalizingly close to the beginning of a hydrogen transition,” said Joan Ogden, a UC Davis environmental science professor and director of Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways. “The next three to four years will be critical for determining whether hydrogen vehicles are just a few years behind electric vehicles, rather than decades.”