Pike Research forecasts fuel cell vehicle cumulative sales to cross the 1M mark in 2020 with $16.9B in annual revenue
The fuel cell vehicle (FCV) market is now in the ramp-up phase to commercialization, anticipated by automakers to happen around 2015. According to a new report from Pike Research, commercial sales of FCVs will reach 1 million vehicles by 2020, with a cumulative 1.2 million vehicles sold by the end of that year, generating $16.9 billion in annual revenue.
Pike Research’s analysis indicates that, during the pre-commercialization period from 2010 to 2014, approximately 10,000 FCVs will be deployed. Following that phase, the firm forecasts that 57,000 FCVs will be sold in 2015, with sales volumes ramping to 390,000 vehicles annually by 2020. While these latest figures represent a downgrade from Pike Research’s previous FCV forecasts, published in the first quarter of 2010, the firm expects a step change in FCV production levels to occur in 2015.
Early sales will be focused on areas where infrastructure investments have been or are being made, such as the United States (primarily California and the New York City region); Germany; Scandinavia; Japan (mainly Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka); South Korea (primarily around Seoul); and Shanghai, China.
The largest market for FCVs will be the Asia Pacific region, which will account for more than half of total worldwide sales in 2020, according to Pike. The most rapid growth, however, will come in Western Europe, where sales with increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 53%.
The limiting factor for the FCV market will be the availability of hydrogen infrastructure. If current plans for station construction are delayed or abandoned, the rollout of FCVs will be similarly pushed back.—Pike Research senior analyst Lisa Jerram
Early adoption is likely to be focused in Japan, Germany, and California, where there is significant fueling infrastructure planned. Transit buses have also been used as a test bed for fuel cell technology, though they lag somewhat behind cars in the timeframe for commercial viability. Transit fuel cell buses offer zero emissions and low noise operation, as well as greater fuel efficiency than internal combustion engines. Pike Research’s projections are for commercially viable transit buses to follow that of light-duty vehicles (LDVs), with this market more dependent on subsidies or incentives for adoption than the car market.
Based on the current state of battery-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and conventional hybrids, Pike believes that light-duty fuel cell cars will not see true demand until the following conditions are met:
- Costs are significantly reduced;
- Market conditions or regulations place a premium on zero tailpipe emissions or non-petroleum-based fuels; and
- Hydrogen infrastructure is scaled up to meet the demand of drivers.
These conditions will likely have to happen simultaneously; this is not an “either/or” set of conditions. The major exception to that ultimatum is cost. Should fuel cell vehicles reach cost parity with diesel-hybrid models, demand could be significantly higher, thereby spurring greater investment in infrastructure.
...In the first two ears of early commercial production phase, deployments will likely be more supply-driven than demand-driven. Consequently, up to 2016, the FCV market will probably only be in the tens of thousands. Pike Research anticipates this phase will resemble the current controlled rollout of BEVs. Automakers will initially be conservative with production numbers as they determine true consumer demand. After the initial rollout, however, production numbers may see a dramatic uptick based on demand.—Fuel Cell Vehicles
Pike Research’s report, “Fuel Cell Vehicles”, analyzes opportunities and challenges in the development of commercially viable fuel cell cars, buses, and trucks. The report provides an examination of the key market drivers and barriers for FCV development in the face of competition from incumbent internal combustion engine vehicles and new plug-in electric vehicles. The report includes a status update on the progress of fuel cell R&D toward meeting commercial technical and cost targets for cars and buses. The report also covers key countries’ policies promoting development and adoption of FCVs, strategies and plans of major industry players, and discussion of the vehicle segments and drivetrain configurations under development.
The report forecasts global pre-commercial deployments of LDVs and buses through 2014, global commercial sales of LDVs and buses from 2015 through 2020, and potential revenue from fuel cell LDVs from 2015 through 2020.