Eight years after President George W. Bush proposed a $1.2 billion program in 2003 to help develop fuel-cell cars and hydrogen storage and delivery systems, there still are no fuel-cell vehicles in commercial production in the U.S.
In President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech last week, he called for 1 million advanced-technology vehicles to be driven on U.S. roads by 2015. But according to Michael Omotoso, director of global powertrain forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates, this is a “stretch goal.”
Omotoso doesn’t think that it can be achieved by 2015. He acknowledged that the U.S. has more than $25 billion invested in advanced-technology vehicle development and the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf are already in production.
However, carmakers will be hampered by the high cost of batteries and the limited market for short-range compact cars. According to U.S. Energy Information Administration figures compiled by Bloomberg, automakers will sell about 281,000 electric cars and light trucks from 2011 through 2015.
This figure includes fuel-cell vehicles and excludes electric-gasoline hybrids. The agency also predicts that sales will increase to 71,000 units in 2015 from 31,000 in 2011. [via autonews - sub. required]