August 20, 2013
YOUR NEXT CAR WILL BE A VOLT:Has the fuel cell car's time finally come? (Brian Dumaine, 8/15/13, FortuneMagazine)
Virtually every major carmaker is preparing to launch hydrogen-powered models in the next few years. Toyota (TM), which has been working on fuel-cell technology with BMW, will unveil a new hydrogen fuel-cell car at the Tokyo auto show in November. The as-yet-unnamed vehicle will go on sale in 2015 and is expected to have a sticker price that's less than a Tesla S (TSLA), which costs about $70,000. Hyundai will lease 1,000 hydrogen cars based on its Tucson crossover in the U.S. starting in 2015. Renault and Nissan have announced a partnership with Daimler and Ford (F, Fortune 500) to share the cost of developing fuel-cell vehicles that could be on the market as soon as 2017. And GM (GM, Fortune 500) and Honda announced in July that they were forming a technology joint venture to produce hydrogen cars by 2020. Honda (HMC) will also launch a new generation of its fuel-cell-powered Clarity, which it has been leasing in limited numbers in California, by 2015.Posted by Orrin Judd at August 20, 2013 1:46 PM
What's behind all the activity? The cynical view is that the auto industry is simply scrambling to meet California's strict air regulations: By 2025 more than 22% of new sales for the major automakers must be zero-emission or plug-in hybrids. "With electric car sales not living up to expectations, the carmakers are looking for a hedge to meet the standards in California, and hydrogen provides that," says Kevin See, a senior analyst at Lux research.