Nissan CEO says market not ready for fuel cell vehicles before 2020

Article by Anita Panait, on November 21, 2013

The auto market won't be ready for hydrogen-powered vehicles before the end of the decade, according to Nissan Motor Co. chief executive Carlos Ghosn, stating a view similar to that of Tesla Motors Inc.'s Elon Musk. Ghosn said the fuel cell vehicles only have a few locations to refuel and the required infrastructure would be prohibitive to build.

Nissan and ally Renault have made heavy investments in electric vehicles while US carmaker Tesla produces plug-in sports cars. Nissan is moving back its plans for fuel cell vehicles since the same issue – lack of adequate infrastructure – that hounded EVs is also likely to pester hydrogen-powered units as consumers wait for facilities to be built and investors want the units to be more widespread, Ghosn remarked at the Tokyo auto show.

"I would be very curious and interested to see competitors who say they are going to mass market the car in 2015," Ghosn said. Carmakers like Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Co. are investing in fuel cell technology as an alternative to electric vehicles, which have been hounded by several concerns like cost, range, safety and recharging facilities. 

Tesla recently disclosed that it made an adjustment to its Model S to trim the risk of battery packs being punctured and catching fire when hitting objects in the road. Musk said last month that there is "no way" that fuel cell vehicles will be a workable technology. Although Tesla was at the Tokyo auto show showcasing the Model S, Musk was visibly nowhere to be found. Both Toyota and Honda Motor Co. have disclosed plans to offer hydrogen-powered cars by 2015.

Topics: nissan, ceo, fuel cell

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