There are people, and some of them comment on TTAC, who are convinced that a hydrogen-powered car is an insanity that will never work, but other people who work at the world’s largest carmakers beg to differ. Today, Ford, Daimler, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance signed a tripartite pact for the joint development of a fuel cell system that promises to be implemented faster, and at lower cost, both to automakers and customers.
The plan is to leverage the considerable economies of scale of the three signatories into “the world’s first affordable, mass-market FCEVs as early as 2017,” as a joint communique says.
All three have significant experience in FCEVs. Their FCEVs have logged more than 10 million km in test drives around the world. There is one problem that faces all presumptive makers of FCEVs: How to make them affordable. If they are affordable, they will hopefully be bought. If there are FCEVs on the road, hydrogen fuel stations will hopefully follow.
This ramp-up is too steep for a single automaker, even the biggest one in the world. After Toyota and BMW, Ford, Daimler, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance formed an even bigger pact. The three companies will invest equally into the project, and amount was not disclosed.
Discounting doubts of TTAC commenters, Thomas Weber, a member of Daimler’s management board, said: “We are convinced that fuel cell vehicles will play a central role for zero-emission mobility in the future.”
Expect more alliances (who’s left, Volkswagen and GM?) and an industry-wide push for FCEVs in the 2015-2020 timeframe.