According to a research report "Automotive Fuel Cell Market by Vehicle Type (Buses, Trucks, LCVs, Passenger Cars), Component, Fuel Cell Type, Fuel Type, Hydrogen Fuel Points, Operating Miles, Power Capacity, Specialized Vehicle Type and Region - Global forecast to 2030" published by MarketsandMarkets, the automotive fuel cell market is projected to grow from 25 thousand units in 2022 to 724 thousand units by 2030, registering a CAGR of 52.4%.
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The growing growing demand of zero-emission commercial and passenger vehicles, increasing hydrogen infrastructure, flourishing long-range freight transport industry, and rising commercial transport are expected to increase the demand for fuel cell electric vehicles. Fuel cell operated vehicles such as buses, LCVs, passenger cars, and trucks are expected to gradually replace their ICE counterparts. For instance, the demand for fuel cell freight trucks is increasing due to their lower operating noise and lower emissions as compared to their ICE counterparts. Likewise, the steady-paced setup of hydrogen infrastructure has increased the feasibility of passenger cars and LCVs. Furthermore, due to increased demand for zero emission freight trucks for logistics has also increased the demand for automotive fuel cells in FCEVs.
Air compressor to be fastest-growing segment by value during forecast period
Air compressor is expected to be the fastest growing segment. Increasing sales of FCEVs will drive the air compressor market. Government support for zero-emission vehicles will also boost this market. North America will also have considerable growth in this market due to the increasing demand for fuel cell vehicles. However, the demand in the European region will be slower due to the higher demand for other electric vehicles. Air compressors are used in many fuel cell systems because they enhance the overall performance. The faster the air compressor, the faster the fuel cell generates electricity. Thus, to improve the performance of fuel cells, air compressors are attached to the fuel cells. These compressors are used to increase the pressure of inlet air by 2–4 times that of the ambient atmospheric pressure. Air compressors used in transportation applications have an approximate efficiency of 75%. In some of the applications, an expander is used along with the compressor for the high-pressure exhaust gases that can recover power at an efficiency of around 80%, thus increasing the overall efficiency of the system. The air compressor has a centrifugal compressor and a radial-inflow expander and is one of the most important component of a fuel cell that requires energy to run. A leakage in the compressor can cause a loss of up to 30% of the output. The Honda Clarity model of 2018 comprises of 2-stage air compressor which in turn result in a smaller size of the fuel cell stack and allows more passenger room inside the car. A multi-stage air compressor can be more efficient which will result in increased sales of fuel cell vehicles and can generate more money for research and development.
Fuel cell LCVs to be the fastest-growing vehicle segment during the forecast period
Fuel cell Light commercial vehicles (LCVs) are projected to be the fastest-growing segment during the forecast period due to their increasing demand for inter-city commercial usage. Rising demand for LCVs due to the thriving e-commerce market and last-mile delivery are expected to further boost the growth of the fuel cell LCV market. Market growth is expected mostly due to the demand for low-emission long-distance commercial operations. Europe is expected to be and the fastest-growing market during the forecast period. LCVs are vehicles with a mass ranging from between 3.5 to 7 tons. LCVs are used for the carriage of goods. Currently, the light commercial fuel cell vehicle market is very small, with the availability of only a few models. However, continuous developments are being undertaken in this field. Due to developments in fuel cell technology, prices of fuel cells are expected to reduce, offering significant opportunities in the LCV market. As FC LCVs are low emission vehicles and provide a higher range compared to other EVs, these vehicles are expected to have a high demand for the logistics and delivery businesses. OEMs have been working to develop their fuel cell LCV offerings. For instance, Renault launched its hydrogen fuel LCVs, Kangoo Z.E., and Master Z.E prototypes in early 2020. Similarity, In September 2022, First Hydrogen had launched its hydrogen powered LCV operational testing in June. The van will have 310 miles of range. Further, in October 2021, Renault announced that it will launch its hydrogen powered Master Van H2-Tech will launch in year 2022, which is longer range, zero emission alternatives existing battery-powered Master ZE. Furthermore, In October 2021, the van has 33KWH battery as well as electric motor as the Master ZE, having range of 310 miles and have 4 six kg hydrogen storage tanks.
“North America to be the fastest growing markets for fuel cell electric vehicles during the forecast period”
North America is projected to be the fastest growing market due to increasing investments by governments across Europe and growing efforts to replace existing bus and taxi fleets with zero-emission vehicles. North America has been one of the leaders in fuel cell development with the help of renowned fuel cell companies in the US and Canada such as Ballard Power (Canada), Plug Power (US), and Fuel Cell Energy (US). This technology is being promoted extensively in the US, with its Senate launching a new bipartisan fuel cell and hydrogen caucus in the summer of 2012. The caucus intends to promote the continued development and commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in the US. Apart from this, in April 2013, 27 US Senate representatives signed a letter requesting USD 147.8 million in funding for a fuel cell and hydrogen energy program and USD 50 million for the State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) solid oxide fuel cell program as part of the FY (financial year) 2014 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill. As of November 2022, the US government is preparing the new hydrogen bill to encourage the use of hydrogen as an emission free alternative across various sectors including transportation. Investments are expected to cater to this initiatives. The US and Canada have been supporting the growth of FCEVs, especially in the commercial vehicle sector. The governments have supported performance testing for fuel cell HCVs for interstate logistics and buses. The presence of companies like Ballard Power Systems, Hyster-Yale, Plug Power, Cummins, Advent Technologies Holdings, BorgWarner, among others makes the North American market more competitive and lots of new possibilities in the coming years. The US is projected to be the largest automotive fuel cell market in North America. California is a key state in the US focusing on and promoting the use of hydrogen vehicles. The state has made significant investments in the development of hydrogen infrastructure for FCEVs. Currently, the state has the largest number of fuel cell cars on the road. Both the US and Canada have promoted FCEVs across individual states.
Key Market Players
The automotive fuel cell market is dominated by established players such as Ballard Power Systems (Canada), Toyota Motor Corporation (Japan), Hyundai Group (South Korea), Hyster Yale (US), and Plug Power (US) among others. These players have worked on providing offerings for the automotive fuel cell ecosystem. They have initiated partnerships to develop their fuel cell technology and offer best-in-class products to their customers.
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