Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn said that hydrogen fuel cells have not been able to meet expectations and will probably not be a cost-effective method to be used on cars in the near future. Volkswagen introduced the XL1 diesel plug-in hybrid this month at the Geneva auto show. This is part of its plan to sell plug-in hybrids in each vehicle segment among the different brands.
These cars, which will go up against models like the Chevrolet Volt, Ford C-Max Energi and Toyota Prius Plug-in, are required to comply with the new fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards established by the European Union and the state of California.
Volkswagen said that it will persist in examining hydrogen-fueled vehicles. However, it’s obvious from Winterkorn’s words that VW is not likely to go along with companies like Hyundai Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. in promising to begin sales of those vehicles sometime in 2015.
Winterkorn said that he doesn’t expect that there will be an infrastructure for fuel cell vehicles and he also can’t imagine how hydrogen can be built on a big scale at a justifiable cost.
Winterkorn commented that some of its rivals have bragged about their technology in a way that made on believe that their whole fleet of vehicles will run with fuel cells in 2012. This is a stab at Daimler AG, which presented its first fuel cell vehicle, named NECAR for "new electric car," in 1994.