2009 Honda FCX Clarity - Click above for high-res image gallery
A lot of automakers are targeting 2015 as the year to introduce fuel cell vehicles to the market, GM, Toyota and Honda foremost among them. This is fine and all, but there are still some serious questions about the cost of hydrogen fuel cell systems to figure out between now and then. A quote buried deep in a new UPI Asia article on Japanese leadership in FCVs gives us one researcher's prediction: "By the time FCVs are commercially available in 2015 they will be cheaper than a Rolls-Royce [$550,000], but it will be difficult to price them down to the level of a Corolla [$22,000]."
That's the view of Kenichiro Ota, a professor at Yokohama National University, and it flies in the face of what automakers like GM are claiming. Everyone seems to be coming into agreement that the cars are technologically solid – the distance they can go on a kg of H2 is increasing, for example – but that cost issue isn't going away.