Toyota Chairman is cautiously optimistic about fuel cell vehicles image

Takeshi Uchiyamada has been discussing the endeavor towards making hydrogen fuel cell popular during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

According to the Japanese automaker – a huge proponent of hydrogen fuel cell, alongside Hyundai and Honda – fuel cell vehicles will not see the same rapid expansion like other modern green technologies – such as hybrids, plug in hybrids and battery electrics. Today there are only three mass-market – albeit limited sales – fuel cell vehicles, the oldest being the fuel cell version of the former generation Hyundai Tucson and the Mirai being competed by Honda’s Clarity, the second generation of the initial FCX Clarity. But while worldwide acceptance of the iconic hybrid-electric Prius was “much faster than we had anticipated,” Takeshi Uchiyamada told Bloomberg, this will not be the case with the fuel cells.

Simply put, the reason behind the slower propagation is that “the infrastructure needs to be prepared before it becomes major in the market.” The challenge is about the same with battery-operated plug ins, as initially there were very few public charging facilities. And while the number of public electric chargers has exploded in recent years – including fast stations – the same cannot be said about new hydrogen stations. “Whether to aim for the hydrogen-based society is dependent on each countries and region,” Uchiyamada said. “I don’t think there will be much change in other regions other than the U.S.”