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By A.J. Roan
Metal Tech News 

IDTechEx speculates fuel cell EV future

Forecasts specific heavy use will grow to $160 billion in 2042 Metal Tech News – October 13, 2021


Last updated 10/19/2021 at 3:02pm

IDTechEx hydrogen fuel cell battery electric vehicles BEV FCEV decarbonization

Daimler AG

Volvo Group and Daimler Trucks have created a joint venture to develop and build commercial hydrogen fuel cell systems for heavy-duty trucks.

Market and business research firm, IDTechEx, predicts that while battery electric vehicles (BEV) are paving the way for decarbonizing road transport, the hydrogen fuel cell will claim a leading role, an estimated US$160 billion role.

In the latest report by UK-based tech speculator, "Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles 2022-2042," IDTechEx forecasts the market value of on-road fuel cell vehicles will grow to US$160 billion in 2042 at a compound annual growth rate of 23.9% over the 20-year forecast period.

The research firm's take is that while battery electric vehicles lead the race to decarbonize global highways, the limitations inherent to lithium-ion are not enough to empower the multitude of heavier tasks required of a future of electrified vehicles, for example, long-haul trucking and high mileage city bus operations.

In such applications, a huge 500-plus kilowatt-hour battery would be required to reliably deliver more than 350 kilometers (217 miles) of range on a single charge and full recharging, even with 350 kW ultra-fast chargers, would take hours. This becomes an even greater challenge in a depot situation, where megawatts of power is required.

According to IDTechEx, major automotive markets such as Japan, Korea, China, Germany, and California are planning for the significant deployment of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV).

Germany has already built around 100 hydrogen refueling stations, offering a capacity to support 40,000 passenger cars.

For the automotive industry, Hyundai's XCIENT fuel cell heavy-duty truck can deliver approximately 400 km of range, with a 73-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and hydrogen fuel cell system that requires less than 20 minutes to refuel.

With a genuine need for range comparable to diesel powertrains and quick refueling, further players like Toyota, GM, Daimler, and Volvo are investing heavily into improving fuel cell system technologies.

Daimler Volvo Toyota GM Hyundai MIT $160 billion automotive market transition

BMW Group

Unveiled at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW's "i Next Hydrogen Concept" has peak output of 369 horsepower and 275 kW that can be fully refueled in 3 to 4 minutes.

While IDTechEx, does not foresee hydrogen fuel cells beating out lithium-ion in regular battery electric vehicles, the company expects this energy system to be a commercial success in the long term.

Furthermore, with incredible innovations such as the recent breakthrough in hydrogen fuel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it could potentially become far simpler to produce this fuel.

You can read about MIT's hydrogen fuel process at MIT develops game changing H fuel process in the August 18, 2021 edition of Metal Tech News.

Regardless of the speculations, both BEV and FCEV require resources. The adoption of both, along with other innovations, will diversify supply chains and markets – opening up new options for decarbonizing global highways.


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