Ghosn joins Musk and questions fuel cell cars image

Nissan and Renault are interested big in the success of electric cars and their CEO, Carlos Ghosn said consumers won’t take to fuel-cell vehicles before the decade’s end, joining Tesla Motors Inc.’s Elon Musk in questioning the future of hydrogen-powered cars.

Echoing similar comments made by Musk last month, Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn said such vehicles only have a few locations to refuel and the required infrastructure would be prohibitive to build.

Ghosn said at the Tokyo Motor Show yesterday that Nissan is pushing back its plans for fuel-cell cars as the same issue that has dogged electric vehicles will also work against hydrogen cars, with consumers waiting for facilities to be built and investors wanting the cars to be more widespread.

“I would be very curious and interested to see competitors who say they are going to mass market the car in 2015,” said Ghosn, an early proponent of electric vehicles. “Where is the infrastructure? Who’s going to build it?”

Automakers have started investing in fuel-cell technology as an alternative to electric vehicles, which have been dogged by concerns including cost, safety, limited range and access to recharging facilities.

Musk said in Munich in October that there’s “no way” that fuel-cell vehicles will be a workable technology. Fuel cells are too complex, too costly and not clean enough, since most hydrogen is generated from natural gas, he said.

Still, there could be a catch to its vocal arguments, as Tesla competes for resources with hydrogen cars in the form of government subsidies for rebates, fueling infrastructure and green-car credits that have made the company profitable this year.

Ghosn said he thinks the technology for hydrogen-powered cars won’t be ready until at least 2020, though Toyota and Honda have said they plan to sell hydrogen-powered cars by 2015 while Hyundai announced plans to lease its fuel cell vehicle in 2014 in the US.

Via Bloomberg