Fuel cell vehicles not taking off with the public

A British survey of consumer attitudes towards Fuel Cell vehicles (FCVs) has found that current enthusiasm towards fuel-cell cars is lukewarm at best, even among the early-adopter types who attended a Low Carbon Vehicle Event last year. The survey measured thirty respondents, each of whom had taken a turn driving a demonstration Hyundai fuel cell vehicle.

While respondents were mildly enthusiastic about the performance of fuel-cell vehicles, they were distinctly unimpressed by the price point and lack of infrastructure. Ultimately, only 10% of those surveyed expressed an interest in purchasing their own hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in the future.

This lack of enthusiasm has long been noted by the industry, but it is concerning considering that the audience in question was as receptive a market as FCVs are likely to find: male, higher than usual education and income levels, and low-carbon vehicle enthusiasts. It gels with another small dataset from Californian FCV drivers, in which 6 out of 9 current FCV owners said they would be switching back to internal combustion or battery vehicles for their next car.

The technology may be maturing, but until sufficient infrastructure is in place, the public seem not yet ready to commit to hydrogen.