Daimler’s interest in hydrogen fuel cells is waning

Daimler’s interest in hydrogen fuel cells is waning

March 30, 2017 2 By John Max

Automaker plans to move away from hydrogen fuel cells in favor of batteries

German automaker Daimler believes that battery technology may be much more viable than hydrogen fuel cells when it comes to powering clean vehicles. Daimler believes that battery electrics already have an edge over fuel cell vehicles due to infrastructure support and their relatively lower cost. The potential of battery technology and how it can be used for the future of clean transportation is so promising that Daimler has chosen to abandon fuel cells moving forward.

Batteries show more promise than fuel cells, according to Daimler

Recently, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche announced that fuel cells were no longer a focus for the company. In the past, Daimler had helped develop some of the most advanced fuel cells for transportation in the world. As focus on this technology has declined, however, the company’s batteries have become more capable. Now, Daimler is placing the majority of its clean transportation focus on battery electrics, which may help accelerate the pace at which battery technology is advancing.

Daimler will be producing one fuel cell vehicle

Though Daimler may be abandoning fuel cells, it will release a limited series of its GLC SUV, which will be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell system. The vehicle is expected to begin production at the end of 2017 or the beginning of 2018. This will be the only fuel cell vehicle that Daimler will support, and this support will be limited in scope. The automaker has plans to develop several battery electric vehicles in the coming years.

Lacking infrastructure support makes hydrogen fuel cells unattractive

Daimler is not the only automaker that is expressing disinterest in hydrogen fuel cells. One of the major challenges that these energy systems are facing in the transportation space is the lack of infrastructure support. Because very few hydrogen stations are available to consumers, interest in fuel cell vehicles is low when compared to interest in battery electrics. This makes hydrogen fuel cells less attractive to automakers, many of whom are beginning to take clean transportation more seriously.

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