GM takes a step back from hydrogen fuel passenger vehiclesAugust 11, 2020
The automaker has lost enthusiasm for selling H2 cars and will focus on battery electric instead.
Though General Motors had been among the auto giants most interested in hydrogen fuel passenger vehicles, it appears the company is stepping back from the tech. Instead, it is placing its greatest focus on battery electric vehicles.
The company has been releasing a growing number of battery updates, rarely mentioning fuel cells.
GM has been releasing updates regarding its battery electric progress but hasn’t been updating on its activities in hydrogen fuel passenger vehicles for some time. A recent press call with Dane Parker, the company’s chief sustainability officer, discussed the GM 2020 sustainability report, indicating that a future launch expected to include fuel cell vehicles will not do so after all.
This was reinforced in a tweet by Michael Wayland, CNBC automotive reporter, when he confirmed that indeed, the 20 electric models to be launched by GM in 2023 will not include a fuel cell car.
.@GM has decided to not produce a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle for consumers as part of its at least 20 new EVs by 2023, GM Chief Sustainability Officer Dane Parker said when discussing the company’s 2020 Sustainability report. https://t.co/kcQoGoUrR2
— Michael Wayland (@MikeWayland) July 16, 2020
This changes gears from the automaker’s October 2017 announcement, when it said it was seeking a “two pronged” approach to its zero emission cars. At that time, it intended to roll out vehicles based on both battery electric and fuel cell powertrains, added Wayland.
GM has moved its efforts more toward battery electric and stepped back from hydrogen fuel passenger vehicles.
Still, GM hasn’t entirely abandoned its efforts in H2. Instead, it has pivoted away from personal vehicles and toward military and commercial vehicles for this sustainable fuel, according to Parker in the call.
GM public relations released a statement about the company’s hydrogen fuel passenger vehicles and H2 plans overall, saying: “GM is committed to fuel cells as a complement to battery-electric propulsion. We are fully engaged with our partner, Honda, to commercialize the world’s best fuel cell technology for use by both companies across a range of applications. These fuel cells will be manufactured in Brownstown, Michigan as previously announced. Our commercialization commitment and timing for fuel cells remains unchanged. In fact, we are currently installing the manufacturing equipment in our Brownstown facility. Like our Ultium battery vehicle programs, the timing of our fuel cell program has not been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a Green Car Reports article.
Fuel cells to me has no place in vehicles. It could be used in some industries or other places but not in vehicles so not all is wasted.
Pretending the H2 car ubiquity paradox did not exist or could miraculously be sidestepped froze hydrogen progress for over a decade. When Alstom rolled out their Coradia iLint wireless electric hydrail train, the car smoke was blown aside and trucks, ships and planes—none of which depend on a ubiquitous fuel infrastructure—roared ahead. GM hasn’t given up hydrogen. They just woke up to the necessity of introducing it in its natural sequence…dead last, when all the other mobility apps have deployed the infrastructure it needs. GM will come back to H2 at a wiser time and battery cars will creep back into their comfortable short trip niche. Nikola and all the truck makers got it; GM wasted their shot on cars.
Hello, I’m a Fordham University Gabelli student working on a social innovation consulting project for GM. You seem to have some really fascinating insight and if at all possible I would like to talk to you a little more about H2 & GM if you would be willing.