Over 56,000 hydrogen fuel cell passenger vehicles were sold worldwide by the end of 2022, according to a recent study by Information Trends. At the same time, several automakers, both start-ups and established players, are vying to enter the fuel cell auto market.
Although the United States hasn’t made much progress implementing this technology, the speed of hydrogen deployment has accelerated in Europe and Asia. The study suggests the main impediment to the adoption of these vehicles in the U.S. has been the lack of hydrogen stations, as the sales of these vehicles are taking place rapidly in regions that have a well-deployed hydrogen fueling infrastructure.
More than half of the fuel cell vehicles sold so far have been in Korea, which has the densest hydrogen fueling infrastructure of any major market. Other regions with strong sales of fuel cell vehicles are Japan and California, where significant deployments of hydrogen stations have taken place.
According to the report, Hyundai’s Nexo has been a clear winner among fuel cell vehicles rolled out so far. Nexo’s only other competitor in the market has been Toyota’s Mirai. But as the market gains traction, other companies are jumping into the bandwagon. Honda is preparing to re-enter this market, beginning with the U.S. where it will launch a fuel cell vehicle in 2024 that will be based on its Honda CR-V. BMW will start mass-producing and selling fuel cell vehicles developed jointly with Toyota in 2025. Other major companies that are in various stages of entering this space include Renault and Jaguar Land Rover. Renault has unveiled a hydrogen fuel cell Scenic Vision that is “part of a longer-term vision, beyond 2030.” Jaguar Land Rover has developed a prototype hydrogen fuel cell vehicle but has not revealed its rollout plans.
The country with the most automakers making inroads into the fuel cell passenger vehicle market is China, although rollouts in the country so far have hardly been more than technical demonstrations, Information Trends says.