Hydrogen fuel cars could be important to California’s future

April 16, 2014 1 By John Max
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Prominent automobile manufactures invest in hydrogen fueled cars.

Hydrogen Fuel Cars - CaliforniaAccording to the representatives from five major motor companies, who were recently involved in a panel discussion that took place in Torrance, California may become the testing place for hydrogen fuel cars over the next several years.

Carmakers will be required to follow new regulations in California by 2025.

There is a strong push for non-gas-powered vehicles in the Golden State. By the year 2025, automobile manufacturers will have to ensure that 15 percent of their total car sales come from selling zero-emission vehicles.

Due to the increasing need and demand for hybrid vehicles, this has opened the door for some of the top motor companies, like Honda and Toyota, to start offering cars powered by hydrogen fuels to Californian residents. Both of these Japanese car companies are planning to release hydrogen fuel vehicles in 2015.

However, South Korean auto maker, Hyundai, already has a leg up over the competition as it was one of the first to manufacture a hydrogen-powered car and successfully introduce it to the market. Later this spring, the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell will be made available for lease at select dealers in Southern California. Anyone interested in leasing this HFC vehicle is looking at a monthly lease cost of $499 for three years and a down payment of $2,999.

Hydrogen fuel cars face short-term drawbacks.

One of the major disadvantages of hydrogen fuel cars is that they cost more than their gas-power counterparts. Although this is only considered to be a temporary drawback, at the moment, the higher price tag is a problem for sales.

Another issue is that while there are 19 new hydrogen fuelling stations either in the process of being planned or built in California, at present, there are only nine fully operational hydrogen stations in the state. The low number of stations and the high price could make the adoption of hydrogen fuel vehicles slow-going, at first.

That said, Honda’s fuel cell vehicle marketing manager, Stephen Ellis said “What we have is this group of people already … saying, ‘What’s next?’ and ‘How can I move beyond a hybrid?’ ”. Ellis commented that those California consumers who have already jumped on board with the hybrid car may have a similar reaction to hydrogen fuel cars.