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Pike Forecasts Light Duty Fuel Cell Vehicle Sales to Total 2.8M Worldwide by 2020

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.


Stan Peterson

If Wishes and Desires were Candy and Nuts, we would all have a Merry Christmas.


They are more likely to reach these numbers in stationary residential CHP applications. GM announced years ago that they were going to deploy fuel cells in stationary applications to get the economies of scale to the point where they could be cost effectively sold in cars. I have no clue where that idea went.


These idiots are smokin Crack.

Roger Pham

To jump start the Hydrogen fuel infrastructure, one possibility would be the use of on-board reformation of petroleum using exhaust heat from ICE, according to a recent research. Hydrocarbon is reformed to H2 and CO, which will be combusted in an engine optimized for H2 combustion, with significantly improved thermal efficiency, from both the added energy of exhaust heat into the endothermic reformation reaction AND the significantly higher efficiency of H2 combustion.

When truck engines will be made to run on H2, then, it will give additional commercial incentives for cities to provide H2 filling infrastructure for these trucks, giving them much cleaner exhaust emission than current diesel counterparts. Once the cost of on-board reformation is recouped from the use of it in trucks, then cars may follow, with H2-combustion engines available to provide dual-fuel vehicles, with gasoline stored right inside the H2 tank when H2 is not used. This will serve as an important bridge to the complete transition to the H2 economy.


I like the 6 figure precision of their predicitions.


If a <50kg genset costing a couple of £k can generate electricity at ~30% efficiency compared to a fuel cell hitting 40% costing £10k's there is no contest.

Roger Pham

Given the higher efficiency of H2 as transportation fuel, the cost of H2 made from wind electricity, waste biomass gasification, and reformation of NG is already cost-competitive with petroleum. The clean air benefit and reduction in cancer risk and respiratory diseases would be priceless!

The rapid adaptation of renewable energy for use in the transportation sector in the form of PHEV and BEV for light vehicles, and H2 for heavy-duty vehicles at least, is very important with respect to reducing petroleum importation and fighting climate change.


Given the higher efficiency of electricity (compared to H2, made from electricity) as transportation fuel, the cost of electricity from wind, solar, and directly from NG has always been cost effective.

The rapid adaptation of renewable energy for use in the transportation sector in the form of PHEV and BEV for light vehicles, and liquid fuels from renewable sources for heavy-duty vehicles, is very important with respect to reducing petroleum importation.

An H2 infrastructure is very costly, even if the economy were not in recession.


There are autothermal reformers that can turn diesel, gasoline, kerosene or alcohols into H2 without combustion. They are partial oxidation and will not create the vast amounts of NOX, ozone, smog and respiratory illness the internal combustion engines do. They would reduce particulates immensely.

We do not do this because of cost, but if you factor in all the lung and heart ailments caused by internal combustion it would be a money saver in the long run for society. People do not think of others, they think about themselves and their money...so there we have it.

Roger Pham

"An H2 infrastructure is very costly, even if the economy were not in the recession."

There is no need for a H2 pump at every street corner. One facility for every 7-mile radius initially would suffice. One pump can cover as much as 100 square miles of urban area. For heavy-duty vehicles which use a lot of fuel at every fillup, the H2 pumps will pay for themselves in short time.

In the days of job shortages, gov.'s direct funding in infrastructure is the best way to create jobs, much better than tax cut or tax incentives or tax rebates, etc...With tax cut, people will use the money to buy imported goods, or save the money, and do little for job creation. When government's money is invested in building green infrastructures and green manufacturing, thus directly creating job, we will reap dividends decades down the line with the elimination of hundreds of billions USD yearly on petroleum importation, thus pumping that much money on the American economy. Investing in Green technologies and infrastructures will promote America's lead in manufacturing and technology, the best way to insure economic and job stability.

Henry Gibson

There are many graduate engineers and others who can make a system for trucks and automobiles that captures CO2, so a hydrogen distribution system is not necessary. A capture system is not even necessary for automobiles if CO2 is captured at homes and factories instead where it is easier and processed with water and energy to make methanol or other form of hydrocarbon. The INNAS NOAX free piston diesel engine can be modified to get 50 pecent efficiency and a bottom cycle using exhaust heat can get even more, so the efficiency of a fuel cell is not needed, and in fact it is a waste to install expensive high efficiency fuel cells( or engines) in vehicles operating at wasteful high speeds on motorways. All automobiles should have a published rating of kilometers per liter on level ground at all speeds up to the maximum in still air.

The efficiency of using ZEBRA batteries charged with solar or wind energy is twice that of using hydrogen produced from such sources in a fuel cell. Electrons are actually the only ZERO EMISSION vehicle fuel. A lot of water vapor in the air makes it more expensive to do airconditioning.

The use of cogeneration at home or work of electricity for charging automotive batteries increases the efficiency of using either biofuels or fossil fuels by twice or more and this is also true of fuel cells. It is especially true of hydrogen when the water is released as water vapor as in automobiles.

Even lead-acid batteries are adequate for most automotive uses especially the Firefly and EFFPOWER and CSIRO versions, but for less weight Zebra Batteries and Lithium batteries are a luxury. Always there is a cheap small range extender engine generator; even one horsepower will do fine for getting home at city speeds. It can charge whilst eating or working even. ..HG..

Roger Pham

Well, Henry, if you don't emit CO2 in the exhaust, then you don't have to go to the troubles of capturing it. Since CO2 is a gas, it would be difficult to store vast quantities of it forever!


I suppose you could capture the CO2 from DMFCs in a solid canister, but if you run them on methanol made from biomass, it does not matter as much.

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