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Fuel Cell Powered Vehicles: Technology Progress Impact on Technical and Economic Feasibility

The U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) supports the development of various technologies to improve the performance and economic feasibility of fuel cells and hydrogen storage devices. Previous studies have shown that improvements related to fuel cell system and H2 storage technologies combined with improvements of electric machine, energy storage systems and light weighting would lead to economically attractive fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) by 2025.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of FCTO technology targets on fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) without contribution from other technologies.

Since FCTO fuel cell efficiency and hydrogen storage targets are separate, the study assess the impact of each technology both individually and combined.

Figure 1 shows when FCEVs become competitive in terms of cost of driving ($/mile) when considering different set of technology improvements.

Figure 1. Comparison of driving costs for conventional vehicles and FCEVs.

Current conventional vehicles costs about 43 cents per mile. If the Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) & FCTO both meet their targets, FCEVs will be commercially more attractive than conventional vehicles by 2025. Without the contribution of electric machine, energy storage and light weighting, fuel cell vehicles would still become competitive compared to conventional vehicle, but their commercial viability might be delayed by 5-7 years.

The report describes the various assumptions, technology development targets and methodology followed for this study.

2017 Report Download:


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