As the market of hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen powered fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) grows rapidly, governments and automobile manufacturers around the world are investing on a full scale in order to preempt the market.
According to the industry on November 27, the hydrogen fuel cell market has grown at a CAGR of 30% since 2010. Its annual sales reached US$ two billion for the first time in 2014. Experts predict that the hydrogen car market will also grow remarkably as fuel cell technology develops. The global hydrogen cell vehicle market, which stood at 600 billion won this year, is expected to grow rapidly to seven trillion won in 2020 and 30 trillion won in 2025.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced on November 22 that they will concentrate on the development of advanced new materials for hydrogen cars with its affiliated national research institute consortium by investing 30 million dollars in fuel cell technology development in line with the fast growth of the hydrogen battery market. The US DOE will go ahead with support plans by dividing them into low-cost production, hydrogen storages, and junctions among others with the aim of commercialization. Under the California government's initiative, the DOE plans to replace 16% of new car sales (an estimated three million units) with eco-friendly cars including hydrogen vehicles by 2025, and is already pushing forward with a hydrogen car charging station test bed project that involves a large number of automobile and energy companies.
The Chinese government announced on November 8 that it was planning to supply 50,000 hydrogen electric cars by 2025 and one million ones by 2030. In order to supply hydrogen electric vehicles, it plans to build 300 hydrogen filling stations by 2025 and 1,000 hydrogen filling stations by 2030. Since 2013, Japan has actively invested in hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen vehicles through the Basic Energy Planning Act and entered a stage of diffusing hydrogen cars for the first time in the world.
The Korean government also aims to supply 10,000 hydrogen cars and build 100 hydrogen filling stations by 2020. Hyundai Motor seemed to take the lead in the environment-friendly automobile market by launching the world's first mass-produced hydrogen SUV “Tucson ix FCEV” in the market in 2013. After Toyota introduced the sedan “Mirai” in 2014 with support from the Japanese government, the hydrogen car market was shared by Hyundai and Toyota.
As the market rapidly grew, US, China and German automakers are expected to enter the hydrogen car market with full support from the domestic market and their governments and have fierce competition.
According to industry sources, Germany's Daimler plans to launch the mass-produced hydrogen electric car “GLC F-Cell” next year. The five-seater SUV is expected to be a powerful rival of Hyundai’s “Tucson ix FCEV.”
Audi took the wrap off a hydrogen car concept car at the Detroit Auto Show early this year, and BMW is working on technology development through collaboration with Toyota.
General Motors of the United States is accelerating the development of the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 military hydrogen car pickup truck with the US Army, eyeing a niche market.
China has yet to announce a new car. But industry experts predict that Chinese automakers will chalk up the fastest growth thanks to its domestic market and enormous support from the Chinese government.