Hyundai pressures oil companies to invest in hydrogen fuelJuly 22, 2014
Hydrogen continues to gain momentum, but a fuel infrastructure is still lacking
South Korean automaker Hyundai has been pushing for the establishment of a comprehensive hydrogen fuel infrastructure for some time now. The company has begun mass production on its new fuel cell vehicle, but this vehicle is not likely to find the success that Hyundai wants to see without infrastructure support. There is only so much the auto industry can do on its own to develop such an infrastructure, which is why Hyundai is now pressuring oil companies to invest in hydrogen fuel.
Oil companies could solve the infrastructure problem quickly
Hyundai executive Dave Zuchowski recently noted that many fuel companies have been in business for more than a century and this experience could be immensely valuable to the field of clean transportation. These companies have extensive experience when it comes to fuel infrastructure, having built such an infrastructure over the course of several years. In the early days of motorized transportation, it was these fuel companies that actually allowed for an infrastructure to take form to support these vehicles. This infrastructure was developed quite quickly in order to meet the needs of a rapidly growing number of drivers.
Fuel cell vehicles have yet to gain the support of consumers
A fuel infrastructure already exists for transportation, so the work to modernize this infrastructure to be more inclusive of hydrogen fuel could be relatively modest, but costly. Hyundai suggests that it is in the best interest of fuel companies to begin investing in a hydrogen infrastructure, as hydrogen may well be the primary fuel of the auto industry in the future. The problem, however, is that there is no guarantee that fuel cell vehicles will actually become as popular as automakers believe they will.
Several roadblocks stand between fuel cell vehicles and success
Automakers are not blind to the risk that face fuel cell vehicles. For one, these vehicles are somewhat more expensive than their more conventional counterparts, immediately making them less attractive to consumers. These vehicles also lack the support of a fuel infrastructure, with only 30 operational hydrogen fuel stations in Southern California, one of the auto industry’s most active markets. Fuel cell vehicles have yet to gain any significant momentum among consumers, which is one of the reasons why fuel companies have been cautious with their involvement with hydrogen.