Will commuters pay more for a hydrogen fuel cell car than a traditional electric?

October 27, 2014 0 By Stephen Vagus

HydrogenFuelNews.com has released the results of its latest survey concerning fuel cell vehicles.

The survey asked the site’s readers if they believed fuel cell vehicles would be as popular as traditional electric vehicles and whether or not they would pay more for a fuel cell vehicle than a hybrid car. The results suggests that the majority of respondents do not believe that fuel cell vehicles will become popular any time soon, but the survey also suggests that respondents would be willing to pay more for these vehicles.

Fuel cell vehicles are similar to conventional electric vehicles in that they both use electricity as a replacement for gasoline. Hydrogen is used by a fuel cell to produce electrical power, with the only byproduct being water vapor and oxygen. This makes fuel cell vehicles environmentally friendly alternatives to their more traditional counterparts that use petroleum as a power source.

According to Dan Holguin, editor of the online publication, the readers had this to say, “Approximately 55% of respondents believe that fuel cell vehicles will not be as popular as traditional electric vehicles until 2020, or further into the future but in general most are open mined and even willing to pay more for a greener daily commute”. He went on to say that 24% of respondents claimed that fuel cell vehicles would never be as popular as other electric vehicles, while only 4% believed they would become popular by 2016.

The survey also shows that respondents may be more likely to spend more money on fuel cell vehicles than hybrids.

While 28% of respondents said that they would not pay more for a fuel cell vehicle than they would pay for a hybrid, 27% said that price is not a factor, they just want a fuel cell vehicle now. Another 22% of respondents claimed that they would pay no more than $5,000 more for a fuel cell vehicle, while 6% said they would pay $20,000 or more if they saved a significant amount of money on gas costs.

People still have many concerns over fuel cell vehicles.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car - Will consumers pay moreOne of the chief concerns among respondents is the lack of effective hydrogen production, storage, and distribution solutions. Respondents to the survey also noted that they would pay more for a fuel cell vehicle if they knew that the hydrogen they were using came from renewable sources. Others claimed that they would only purchase a fuel cell vehicle if they could take advantage of tax credits and other financial incentives. Notably, a minority of respondents said that they would not purchase a fuel cell vehicle at all.

Many studies show that in order to slow down the effects of climate change, there will need to be some drastic alterations in the current standards. Primary among them is a reduction in automobile pollution.  While hybrid and electric cars have been helping among certain individual drivers, it remains a niche market, when the current need is for the widespread use of this type of vehicle. In the U.S., personal cars and trucks make up one fifth of all of the emissions in the country.  For every gallon of gas, vehicles release 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses into the air. In fact, the average passenger vehicle will add 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year.

Green advocates are demanding a much faster fix for this problem, stating that this very slow trend toward hybrid and electric vehicle adoption is inadequate for the change that is needed.  Hydrogen fuel vehicles could provide just that type of rapid fix, but what has yet to be seen is how the transportation industry will be willing and able to rise to the occasion with great enough speed.

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