According to a new rumor off the mill, Daimler has allegedly decided that its future core alternative technology should focus on plug in (PHEV) and full electric cars on batteries, seemingly discarding hydrogen fuel cell development.
The company is not killing its ongoing projects though – such as the very interesting plug-in GLC SUV, scheduled to arrive as a production series model sometime this year or the next – though it will be relegated to a very small scale, and exclusive to fleet operators. During a recent automotive congress in Stuttgart Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche apparently said “the fuel cell is no longer playing a central role for the company. Though Daimler still is in possession of leading-edge fuel cell technology, the edge of this technology over the battery-electric approach is dwindling.” Apparently, the reason for this refocus is hydrogen is losing its edge of longer range (than battery electric cars) and way shorter refueling time.
Over the past few years, battery electrics have grown in popularity and now have longer and longer ranges, as well as much faster recharge infrastructure already out or in construction. In addition, battery costs are also falling rapidly. On the other side, there’s still no answer to questions about cheaper hydrogen fuel cells/tanks, the production of hydrogen or the vast and expensive refueling infrastructure.