FC EXPO 2019: Strategies of OEMs towards the widespread adoption of FCVs

Excerpts from technical conference presentations by Daimler, Audi, GM, Hyundai, Honda, and Toyota



 At the FC EXPO 2019 (16th Int’l. Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Exhibition) held February 27 - March 1, 2019 at the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center, during the technical conference program entitled “Initiatives and Strategies of OEMs towards the Commercialization and Widespread Adoption of FCVs”, 6 OEMs introduced their approaches towards the proliferation of fuel cell electric vehicles and the hydrogen infrastructure. This report provides excerpts of the presentations and summarizes some of the latest trends in fuel cell development among these companies.

 Each OEM gave an indication of their electric vehicle deployment roadmap plans that were formulated as part of their Group’s mid and long-term electrification strategies, which were tailored to the different characteristics of EVs, HVs and PHVs, and FCVs, including aspects considering vehicle sizes and ranges. The automakers who presented in this year’s technical presentations are all working on developing both electric vehicles (EV or BEV) and fuel cell vehicles (FCV or FCEV) as well as their next generation of zero emissions vehicles (ZEV).

  FCVs have a driving range comparable to that of gasoline cars, so OEMS are aiming to expand the adoption of FCVs from passenger cars to commercial vehicles. First, they will work to reduce the cost and improve the performance of fuel cell technologies on passenger cars, and in parallel expand the demand for hydrogen by popularizing commercial vehicles that consume more hydrogen, which would accelerate the development of the hydrogen infrastructure. Furthermore, OEMs are also planning for numerous other applications of FC stacks as hydrogen technologies can be utilized for various mobility platforms besides automobiles, such industrial machinery such as forklifts, railways, marine vessels, airplanes, and drones.

 Each company shares a common interest to continue the development of FCVs, amidst increasingly stringent environmental regulations around the world as FCVs are considered the automobile with the ultimate in sustainable clean performance. Even the best-selling FCV, the Toyota MIRAI, has a global cumulative sales volume of only 7,700 units (from end-2014 to end-2018) but Toyota aims to reach an annual global sales volume of 30,000 units with about 10,000 of those units sold in the Japan market.

 When the environmental strategies of next-generation automobiles are viewed from the well-to-wheel perspective, each company is working to address the issues relating to sustainable energy, global warming countermeasures (CO2 reduction), and air pollution countermeasures (reduction of emissions such as NOx) by using power generated from renewable energy sources to supply hydrogen filling stations, and by using FCVs that only emit water. The FC Expo introduced various approaches being explored by each OEM with respect to the necessity of cooperation between the public and private sectors and collaboration among companies towards mass adoption of FCVs and the hydrogen infrastructure.

燃料電池自動車の特徴 水素社会実現に向けた取り組み
Characteristics of fuel cell vehicles
(Source: Toyota)
Initiatives towards the realization of a hydrogen society
FC EXPO 2019 Ministry of the Environment exhibition

Related reports:
WCX18: SAE World Congress Experience - Clean Vehicle Technology (May 2018)
2021-2030 CO2 regulations in Europe, backlash against diesel, and electrification (May 2018)
OEM Electrification Strategies: Acceleration of EV and PHV Lineup Expansion (April 2018)