Hydrogen fuel cells are becoming less expensive for the auto industry

April 22, 2015 0 By Tami Hood

Fuel cell vehicles are dropping in price and becoming more attractive to US drivers

Fuel cell vehicles are beginning to gain more popularity in the United States as the cost of hydrogen fuel cells begins to decrease. For years, fuel cells have been considered too expensive to be viable for consumer transportation. This had been true in the past, but these energy systems are becoming less expensive because of technological developments. The cost of producing hydrogen is also falling, which is making it cheaper to power fuel cells.

Automakers are working to reduce the cost of fuel cells

Fuel cells are still quite expensive, but they are becoming less so over time. The high cost of these energy systems is transferred directly to consumers when they purchase fuel cell vehicles. As such, these vehicles tend to be significantly more expensive than their conventional counterparts. This is changing, however, as some automakers take steps to reduce the cost of these vehicles, taking a financial loss through their production and sale.

Incentives help popularize Hyundai’s fuel cell vehicle

Hydrogen Fuel - Auto IndustryHyundai was among the first companies to bring a fuel cell vehicle to California, following Honda. The company’s hydrogen-powered Tucson is equipped with a fuel cell system that provides the vehicle with the energy that it needs. While the Tucson is not yet available for purchase, it can be leased for $499 a month, with $2,999 down. This is still quite expensive when compared to other vehicles, but in California, those leasing the Tucson can receive $5,000 in rebates from the state. Hyundai also offers access to three year’s worth of hydrogen fuel for free.

Toyota makes strides in reducing the cost of hydrogen fuel cells

Toyota is, perhaps, the automaker that is making the most progress in regards to reducing the cost of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Toyota’s Mirai is only available in Japan currently, but the vehicle costs approximately $58,000. Supported by incentives from the Japanese government, the cost of this vehicle drops to about $45,000. Improved fuel cell manufacturing processes and technology allow Toyota to reduce the cost of the Mirai, enabling it to better compete with conventional vehicles.