Chinese automaker Shanghai Automotive (SAIC) has announced their entry into the hydrogen energy industry. They have unveiled plans for the launch of a plug in fuel cell vehicle that will be available in 2015. Shanghai Automotive is the latest to join the swelling ranks of car manufacturers releasing hydrogen powered vehicles at that time. The company is responding to a growing demand in China for a transition to alternative fuel.
China is one of the nation’s leading the push toward renewable energy. Hydrogen is among one of the favored alternatives, as it has been proven to meet the energy requirements of the nation. Cost aside, fuel cells have become synonymous with breaking dependence on oil and establishing energy independence.
Pan Gan, general manager of SAIC’s electric vehicle division, says that the vehicle will make use of a small-scale fuel cell that will drastically reduce its overall cost. While cost may not be an issue, infrastructure may prove to inhibit SAIC’s efforts. As it stands, China has only a few hydrogen refueling stations throughout the country. Most of them are reserved for industrial purposes. Without an infrastructure, the hydrogen powered car will not be a success with consumers.
Establishing a capable infrastructure will be costly and is expected to cause the government to shy away from the task. However, China’s growing need for alternatives to oil is becoming clearer. As the nation continues to grow economically, industrially and in terms of population, fossil-fuel is no longer capable of handling the nation’s energy demands on its own.