A new hydrogen development alliance has been formed between Ford, Nissan and Daimler, hot on the heels of a deal between Toyota and BMW that will explore the same technology.
While Toyota and BMW have set a 2020 deadline for hydrogen-fueled production models, Daimler, Ford and Nissan plan to introduce the world’s first affordable, mass-produced hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles by 2017.
Banking on more than 60 years of hydrogen research between them, the new alliance aims to reduce the cost of developing the technology, producing a common system to be shared across future models.
Hydrogen systems have fallen from favour as a source of ‘green power’ in recent years, while petrol-electric hybrid cars have rapidly grown in popularity.
Manufacturers cite packaging and refuelling infrastructure limitations for keeping hydrogen models from the showroom floor.
These new development programs symbolise a renewed long-term interest in hydrogen - itself the most abundant element on the periodic table.
Daimler, Ford and Nissan hope that their combined interest in the technology will expedite the refinement of worldwide consumer hydrogen supply and the rollout of suitable refuelling infrastructure.
Such expansion will be critical to improving the practicality of hydrogen-fuelled vehicle ownership, and therefore the technology’s mainstream appeal.