Car giants: Affordable hydrogen cars coming soon

A research partnership could mean hydrogen cars are cheaper and more readily available by 2017.
Written by Tyler Falk, Contributor

A trio of car giants is teaming up to bring affordable hydrogen cars to a larger market in as little as four years.

Daimler, Ford, and Nissan announced today a partnership to develop a "common fuel cell system" that will be shared by each company for different brands of hydrogen cars. They say that joining forces could lead to the world's first affordable, mass-market fuel cell electric vehicles and that they could reach consumers as early as 2017.

While they certainly won't be the first companies to invest in research of hydrogen fuel cells -- which promise to drastically reduce vehicle emissions since they only emit water vapor and heat, not CO2 -- the companies believe that sharing resources will bring down costs and speed up innovation. Together, the automakers say, they have over 60 years of research experience with fuel cell electric vehicles.

"Working together will significantly help speed this technology to market at a more affordable cost to our customers," said Raj Nair of Ford. "We will all benefit from this relationship as the resulting solution will be better than any one company working alone."

Honda produced the first commercial hydrogen car in 2008. But the car has a limited availability and began leasing the cars for three years at $600 a month.

According to a press release, the automakers believe an investment of this size could do a lot to spur investment in hydrogen car infrastructure. "The collaboration sends a clear signal to suppliers, policymakers and the industry to encourage further development of hydrogen refueling stations and other infrastructure necessary to allow the vehicles to be mass-marketed."

Photo: Flickr/Zero Emission Resource Organisation

[h/t AP]

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