Of the major car manufacturers Hyundai, Toyota, and Honda are already well advanced in the production of Hydrogen Fuel Cells, and the big players in the European market are similarly looking at bringing a hydrogen-fuelled vehicle to the market. Although, it will be a long time before they can achieve parity with Electric Vehicles and hybrid cars.
The initial outlays involved are vast, and research is still being undertaken to reduce further the associated costs of producing and storing hydrogen in cells. The is also that intangible factor of public perception. Although most of the driving public have heard of electrically powered cars, far fewer have heard of hydrogen-powered vehicles. The lack of brand recognition is another hurdle that the proselytisers of hydrogen as a fuel source will have to surmount. Once this lack of brand awareness is overcome, and the initial production costs are driven downwards, some predict that the Hydrogen Fuel Cells will begin to threaten the market dominance of electric cars within ten years.
Others observers of the developing green vehicles process believe that two factors will continue to hamper the development of Hydrogen Fuel Cells for the foreseeable future. These impediments to Hydrogen Fuel Cell uptake centre around the fact that batteries in Electric Vehicles have proven scalability (i.e. they keep getting cheaper) and the difficulty in getting hydrogen gas on to petrol forecourts.
The scalability of the hydrogen process will prove the key to answering this question. Only when the difficulty of mass hydrogen production is overcome can hydrogen be seen as a viable green fuel. One exciting development is the production of hydrogen as a by-product of renewable energy production. Analysts believe that as much more energy is produced by renewables, the spare capacity this might create could be turned to hydrogen production by electrolysis. However, this manufacturing process is currently not very efficient. It takes three times the amount of resources put into the comparable amount of energy produced by the hydrogen at the end of the process.