The hydrogen car struggles to convince. Sales, which never took off, are already declining around the world. Is it already the end for the hydrogen car?
Does the hydrogen car have a future? Although we can find real qualities in it on paper, starting with significant autonomy and rapid refueling, its disadvantages have always relegated it to the background until now. Despite the efforts of certain manufacturers, sales are not taking off. Worse still, they are settling.
The South Korean firm SNE Research reveals that registrations of hydrogen cars fell by 9.6% from January to July 2023. This is certainly not a spectacular fall in absolute terms, but the volumes are derisory. They do not even exceed the mark of 10,000 units over the first 7 months of the year, with precisely 9,619 sales recorded.
Hyundai fuel cell champion
The manufacturer Hyundai alone sold 3,662 hydrogen vehicles – Nexos but also Elec City buses, not sold here. A figure down 40%, which nevertheless allows it to take a 38.1% market share and dominate this niche segment.
Driven by its new generation of Mirai, Toyota sees its sales of hydrogen models increase by 15.8% (still from January to July 2023). The Japanese occupies the second step of the podium and reaches 30% market share. The balance sheet nevertheless remains poor, with a total of only 2,884 registrations.
Kinglong, a Chinese manufacturer of buses and utility vehicles, can boast of being the third largest player in the sector. It manages to occupy this place of honor with 866 sales of fuel cell vehicles to its credit.
South Korea ahead of China
Hydrogen cars sell best in South Korea. The country has in fact absorbed 3,390 of the 9,619 registrations. However, the dynamic is not good, with a decline of 38.7% compared to the same period last year.
Thanks to an increase of 66.8%, China becomes the second largest market for hydrogen vehicles (3,073 registrations). The United States comes third (2,333), ahead of Europe and Japan (566 and 235 copies respectively).
It must be said that many obstacles stand in the way of the hydrogen car: very poor efficiency, very expensive refueling, lack of infrastructure (also expensive) and ecological problems in the event of a leak.
Although it is too early to definitively condemn the fuel cell in the automotive sector, the challenges to be taken up to make it viable and interesting from an environmental point of view today appear difficult to overcome. This is undoubtedly why Tesla shows a certain skepticism towards this technology. The French Hopium, which had bet everything on hydrogen, quickly became disillusioned.
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