Will Fuel Cells Replace Battery-Powered Cars?

Sep. 19, 2011 11:14 AM ETTSLA, BLDP, PLUG, WPRT, CLNE, NSANY132 Comments
Mitch Vine profile picture
Mitch Vine

Will battery powered cars become mainstream? Not likely. Fuel cells have the potential to replace batteries as the energy source behind electric cars. And fuel cell cars are just one of several vehicle types that could take a share of the green-car market. Internal combustion engine (ICE) cars will continue to be improved and will dominate the market for many years.

The next 20 years will be awash in technology-driven green car ideas. Governments will continue to force automakers (and motivate drivers) to reduce CO2 emissions, increase their average MPG, and reduce their dependence on foreign oil.

The plug-in car is one of the earliest green production cars, but it is a car with some serious consumer acceptance issues including poor range, difficulty of refueling on the road, and high initial cost. In the time it will take to solve these issues many competing technologies will have time to be established.

Certainly enthusiast and hobbyist types will buy a few all electric cars like the Tesla Motors (TSLA) Roadster or the Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY) Leaf. There may even be enough sales to sustain a boutique auto maker like Tesla. However in-spite of their cool factor, it is unlikely that the all-electric market will EVER be a mainstream market. We won’t repeat all the pros and cons of all-electric vehicles here. They have been well discussed elsewhere. We will focus on the alternatives.

There are many ways to get greener besides the plug-in vehicles (or riding you bike). Let’s list out some possible contenders to spoil the party for the big battery vehicles.

  • More efficient and cleaner burning gasoline and diesel internal–combustion-engine (ICE) cars
  • Smaller and lighter ICE cars
  • Hybrid Electric-ICE Cars
  • ICE Cars that burn natural gas
  • ICE Cars that burn renewable fuels
  • Fuel cell cars that run on

This article was written by

Mitch Vine profile picture
VineSecurityJournal provides original research and content covering physical security, wireless and wired networking, and alternative energy (Greenvestor). Our research is based on financial fundamentals, plus a solid understanding of the underlying business, market, technology, competition and product development process. The journal was founded by Mitch Vine, Professional Engineer, product developer and long time investor. Mitch Vine has been actively investing for 30 years. He has held executive positions in product development and marketing for companies like IBM Corporation, Telus Mobility and Motorola plus he's helped several startups to analyse technology investments, markets, regulation and competition. Mitch is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario Engineering and MBA programs. He can be reached at mitchvine@securitynr.

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