Alongside the epic electric vehicles bubble, investor interest has also steadily grown in hydrogen-powered vehicles. Volkswagen’s CEO, Herbert Diess, put a pin in that idea in a recent interview with the Financial Times. FT‘s Joe Miller writes:
Europe’s two biggest industrial and economic powers are laying billions on the table in an attempt to take on China in developing a “green” hydrogen sector to replace fossil fuels — but the continent’s top motor groups are wary of going along for the ride.
“You won’t see any hydrogen usage in cars,” said Volkswagen chief executive Herbert Diess.
The idea of a big market for vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells is “very optimistic”, according to Diess, who has overseen a €35bn push into electric cars. “Not even in 10 years,” he told the Financial Times, “because the physics behind it are so unreasonable.”
France and Germany have driven the region’s effort to build a world-leading industry based on the most abundant element in the universe, a pillar of the EU’s plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Together they have pledged a combined €16bn to hydrogen power generation technologies, the largest direct public investment in the field by EU countries.
Their carmakers, however, remain unconvinced. VW, the world’s second-biggest by sales, has all but abandoned its hydrogen plans. German rival Mercedes, which invested in hydrogen for decades to no avail, quietly shelved its last passenger car fuel cell project last year, while BMW maintains only a toehold in the technology.
France’s PSA, which has bet heavily on electric vehicle technology, also remains deeply sceptical. Carlos Tavares, the outspoken CEO of the recently formed Stellantis group resulting from the merger of Fiat Chrysler with PSA, even suggested to the FT that “most of the people who have pushed for the hydrogen-powered cars are the ones who are late in the electric vehicles”.
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