Hydrogen ICE vehicle production poised for boom

Despite the comparatively high running costs, experts are predicting this end of the automotive industry will ‘take off’ as new technologies fall in price. 

Researchers at Interact Analysis believe that by 2030 shipments of hydrogen ICE (internal combustion engine) models could hit 58,000 per year, before a considerable increase will see that number rise to 400,000 by 2040. 

photography of wing mirror

Key obstacles at the moment come in the form of minor changes needed within the vehicle design compared with standard ICEs, for example different spark plugs and other materials. Individually, these do not pose much of a problem, but combined significantly increase production costs. Meanwhile, much higher fuel costs and a lack of refuelling infrastructure also put many individuals and companies off. 

Nevertheless, the future is looking brighter for this nascent low-emission alternative to cars and trucks, particularly for low mileage applications, in regions where there is legislature targeting diesel, and where battery electric vehicle (BEV) options are not available, in scarce supply or not suited to a particular purpose.

While this does not necessarily mean hydrogen ICEs are set to be as popular as BEVs, it does suggest they will drive a growing section of the planet’s route away from high polluting transport modes. 

‘The number of registered H2 ICE vehicles is forecast to grow to 58,000 in 2030. Covering all on road and off-road vehicles (including trains, agricultural equipment, trucks and passenger cars), this figure is set to see significant growth post-2030, with uptake of H2 ICE technology projected to soar to more than 400,000 shipments by 2040,’ said Jamie Fox, Principal Analyst at Interact Analysis. 

‘Due to unfavorable TCO (total cost of ownership) and high fuel costs, H2 ICE vehicles are unlikely to become the market leader. Despite the many environmental benefits to the use of hydrogen vehicles, for mass adoption to occur the refuelling infrastructure required must be developed and customer payback improved. We are still seeing many limitations to refuelling infrastructure for battery electric vehicles so it is unlikely that we will see a significant amount of change in the H2 infrastructure for many years,’ he continued. 

Image: Alessio Lin


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