According to a new report from Pike Research, fuel cell vehicles (FCV) will be commercially launched in most regions of the world by 2014, and cumulative sales of light duty fuel cell cars and trucks will surpass 2.8 million vehicles globally by 2020.
|Projected FC light vehicle sales. Click to enlarge.|
Pike Research expects that, overall, FCV research will reach $4 billion in 2010, and is expected to climb to $5.13 billion globally in 2016, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.3%. This research spending is expected to grow in 2015 and 2016 as automakers meet their commitments to introduce vehicles to the marketplace.Once introduced, Pike expects annual light vehicle FC sales to reach 669,597 vehicles by 2020. Pike forecasts that Western Europe will be the leading region for FCV sales with a 37% share of the world market, followed closely by Asia Pacific with 36%. FCV sales in North America will represent approximately 25% of global sales during the period from 2014 to 2020.
The United States will be the largest single country market for FCVs in 2020 (134,049 FCVs), followed by China (129,241 FCVs) and Germany (126,783 FCVs).
Fuel cell vehicles have been an elusive goal for the automotive industry, but they are on the verge of commercial reality. With substantial support from the largest automakers, the pressure is on gas companies and governments to make sure that hydrogen fueling stations are available to support this emerging market.
—Dave Hurst, Pike Research
Pike identifies five automakers as leaders in FCVs: Daimler AG, Honda, General Motors, Hyundai, and Toyota. These manufacturers are currently operating the largest fleets of FCVs and have done so the longest. Other manufacturers may soon catch up, however, as Ford has operated a (now aging) fleet of FC Focuses, but it partners with Daimler in the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (AFCC) joint venture and likely has access to more advanced FC technology. Volkswagen is also preparing to bring its Passat Lingyu FCV into limited production within the next few years.
The entire growth of the FCV market is balancing on two key items, the Pike report says: the growth of hydrogen refueling stations and improved durability and efficiency of the FCs. Pike Research anticipates that automakers will meet their commitments, but it will be a much harder political sale to convince governments to subsidize the refueling infrastructure and gas companies to make the substantial financial commitments to build the stations. Therefore, Pike Research expects that FCVs will remain a small niche within the overall vehicle market for the first five or six years after they are introduced.
The cleantech market intelligence firm anticipates that FCV revenues will reach $23.9 billion annually by 2020.