He is a brilliant CEO, a billionaire that tends to invest into enterprises that become immensely rich and spectacularly successful. But, on the other hand he is quite outspoken and now his sharp tongue wants to trash hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.
Among his main arguments are that such vehicles are currently very rare and utterly expensive, with very few stations to refuel. And while the models, such as those being developed by Toyota, Hyundai, Honda and others emit only water vapor, the hydrogen fuel can be quite expensive and “dirty” to produce.
“There’s no way for it to be a workable technology,” Tesla’s chief executive officer said this week during a presentation in Munich.
“On the vehicle side, these fuel cell cars are very compelling,” said John German, program director with the International Council on Clean Transportation environmental policy group, and a former Honda engineer. “They have the range and refuel time of regular vehicles, and the quick acceleration of electric-drive systems that people like,” he adds.
Behind Musk’s vocal offensive actually lies commercial interest – Tesla competes for resources with hydrogen cars, be it government subsidies for purchases, refueling infrastructure and the very lucrative California green-car credits that allowed the company to become profitable for the first time this year. A California green-credit review and the upcoming hydrogen-fueled models, anticipated in 2015, have sparked a decade-long rivalry in California between battery-car promoters and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle partisans.