Five Reasons Why There is a Place for Fuel Cells and Hydrogen in America’s Transportation Future - And How We Can Work Together to Achieve our Goals
Morry Markowitz, President, Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association
Fuel cell vehicles, or FCVs, present a sustainable option to meet state greenhouse gas emissions and zero emissions vehicles goals. With an average range in excess of 300 miles, a fueling experience similar to a standard gasoline powered car, and zero tailpipe emissions – now is the time to support FCVs as an important option in the alternative energy vehicle landscape.
This week, at the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) Annual Meeting, I had the opportunity to share some of the benefits of FCVs and highlight what the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association and its members believe are important next steps to increase the number of these vehicles on our roads. Here are 5 of the reasons why we strongly believe there’s a place for fuel cells and hydrogen in America’s transportation future.
1. Zero Compromise
Consumers will find that FCVs combine the performance benefits of both traditional gasoline vehicles and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). FCVs have an extended drive range and a fill up time of just 3-5 minutes. FCVs are also extremely reliable and require little maintenance, while also offering the quiet operation and high torque of BEVs. Consumer acceptance is an important step in achieving national and state environmental and energy policy goals.
2. Zero Emissions
FCVs, similarly to BEVs, can significantly improve air quality and cut greenhouse gas emissions to meet U.S. climate goals. FCVs have zero tailpipe emissions; in fact the only byproduct is water. When you crunch the numbers, FCVs are right on par with BEVs in terms of lifecycle GHG emissions, and when hydrogen comes from renewable sources, the numbers get even better. In fact, California already has a 33% renewable hydrogen mandate for vehicle fueling.
Fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen fuel bring transformational innovation that will foster a new clean economy and economic growth – especially for early-adopter communities. Investing in the infrastructure that supports this technology, including fueling stations, will support job creation and future innovation.
4. Unyielding Safety Standards
FCVs and hydrogen fuel are as safe as traditional gasoline vehicles. For more than 50 years, hydrogen has been safely produced, stored, transported, and used in the American industrial sector. Furthermore, the carbon fiber hydrogen tanks found within FCVs have withstood significant crash, fire, and ballistic testing. Because of these high safety standards, FCVs meet the thorough National Highway Safety Transportation Administration’s (NHTSA) safety and quality regulations.
5. Energy Independence
FCVs are a technology that will help move our transportation sector away from a continued reliance on foreign oil by using domestically-produced hydrogen. Almost all hydrogen produced in the United States is currently derived from our large domestic reserves of natural gas and renewables such as wind, solar, and biofuels.
FCVs are in the market in California and are coming to the Northeast. But how can we work together to make FCVs a more common sight on our roads? It is our belief that we should focus on:
- Supporting state and local fuel cell and hydrogen energy policies
- Providing financial and non-financial support such as incentives for infrastructure, consumer incentives, and benefits such as HOV lane access
- Simplifying the process around station siting and permitting
- Harmonizing codes, standards, and safety regulations across states
- Encouraging the development of state FCV fleets
- Continuing to support technology leadership in all fuel cell applications
We believe that leveraging all options for zero emission vehicles, whether fuel cells or battery, will help us reach our climate goals. FCVs present a sustainable alternative to traditional gasoline powered cars and are an important part of a clean transportation future.