What a Week for FCEV
Posted on July 9, 2015
What a week for FCEV. First we have Toyota announcing EPA figures for the Mirai and then BMW rolls out its futuristic i8 hydrogen fuel cell powered car. It’s got me thinking…
It is great to see the higher level of financial and specialist media articles on fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen: this underlines the coming of age of hydrogen fuel cell propulsion technology for cars.
We see this every day in our Motive division with increased commercial demand on our technology. We started seeing an uptick in interest in 2008, but there has been a remarkable acceleration of commercial traction over the last 12 to 18 months. It took nearly 8 years to get two customers which delivered a number of paid for joint development agreements, one paid for non-exclusive licence and one signed an option licence agreement. The recent increased demand for access to best in class fuel cell technology, such as Intelligent Energy’s technology, delivered, in just about 10 months, the addition of two more volume car OEMs to our list of customers.
It is interesting to note that two are Japanese volume OEMs at a time when Japan is going “all in” with a hydrogen society with big investments to support it, one is an Asian volume OEM and one is a European Premium Car Manufacturer. The majority of our OEMs are in Asia, a region where hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is picking up pace (as underlined by the recent Nissan/Honda/Toyota hydrogen refuelling infrastructure announcement picked up in the press over the last few days) and where fuel cell cars can be purchased as products from OEMs (e.g. Toyota, Hyundai).
Progress is being made elsewhere too. The announcements from different car OEMs keep rolling in: prototype and demonstration vehicles from Audi Q6 BEV and FCEV, BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo powered by fuel cells and an i8 proto fuel cell powered, actual products from Toyota and Hyundai as noted above and many more such announcements. This is also matched by hydrogen refuelling programmes such as the German H2Mobility programme, the UK H2Mobility programme, the France H2Mobilité programme, the H2USA programme and others which are live and all focused on deploying hydrogen refuelling infrastructures in different geographies beyond Asia (see recent Linde “Power to gas” in Germany picked up by the press earlier this week for instance, or Toyota’s announcements over the recent months in California). And we must not forget the European Joint Technology public private partnership of c€1.3bn of new money focused on fuel cells and hydrogen which also helps to set up the right environment for automotive fuel cells to flourish in Europe faster than otherwise possible.
This sudden flurry of progress underlines the coming of age of fuel cell propulsion technology for cars. It is our belief that Intelligent Energy is exceptionally well positioned to capitalise on this given the number of car OEMs we have as customers and that the majority of them are in Asia where technology and deployment is more advanced than elsewhere in the world. In addition, Intelligent Energy has a unique advantage afforded by its “design once, deploy many times” business mantra which increases uptake of our technology across different market segments faster and to achieve economies of scale more quickly than if only focused on the motive segment alone. Our fuel cell technology applied in the motive environment is largely the same as what we already deploy elsewhere: in India we have more than 26,500 revenue generating sites under contract; and our mobile electronics charger available in Apple stores throughout the UK. We are creating customer segments of scale to deliver our fuel cell technologies far and wide, with mutually reinforcing benefits between segments.