China is becoming the grandmaster in hydrogen power
A hydrogen-based zero-emission vision is something that has been introduced previously in APAC. In the mid-2010s, China aimed to create a market for EVs and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), while Japan formed the “hydrogen society” vision.
Automakers quickly realized the benefits of fuel cell systems, offering a much higher energy density to battery-powered vehicles and eliminating the need for huge batteries for long-haul trucks and buses. Yet, the advantages do not end there:
- A single hydrogen station has a daily capacity of up to 1,000 vehicles,
- FCEVs lower the supply chain pressures and cut costs.
- A fuel cell is charged in 10 minutes, providing up to 450 km range.
On the other hand, OEMs were not prepared for technological hurdles, a massive lack of charging infrastructure, and high maintenance costs. A price tag of $56,000 for the Toyota Mirai, one of the first experiments, was far from offering a low-cost zero-emission passenger car.
China is going green
Synosenergy, which produces 70% of the fuel cell stacks in China, provides 20,000 fuel-cell stacks annually in a country planning to have around 9,000 hydrogen-powered airplane by 2040.
China plans to produce up to 200,000 tons of green hydrogen by 2025, produced 100% from renewable energies, and market demand to hit 90 m metric tons by 2060. Japan targets 800,000 cumulative FCEV sales and 1,000 refueling stations by 2030. Two countries lead in the refueling stations, 250 and 161, respectively, followed by S. Korea (141) and India (3). Australia and New Zealand are taking the first steps, working with Japan to get expertise in green hydrogen production.
Several developments signal a future where hydrogen will power up passenger cars and commercial fleets:
- China opened its first hydrogen fueling station in Shandong Province in 2021.
- Hyundai plans to supply Switzerland with 1,600 FCEV trucks by 2025.
- Honda and General Motors (GM) to release a hydrogen model in 2024; Honda aims to sell 60,000 FCEVs by 2030.
The turning point will be the wide-scale access to green hydrogen, and China appears to be ready to become the grandmaster of APAC in FCEVs.
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