The global fuel cell vehicles market is expected to grow at a fast pace over the next seven years owing to the stringent environment regulations by regional bodies including REACH and EPA to limit harmful emissions from vehicles which have resulted in several environmental and health problems.
Fuel cell technology for vehicles is gaining prominence globally owing to its environment-friendly and uniqueness in nature. The technology has the capability to power numerous vehicle types including the airport, passenger, power forklifts, and heavy duty tugs.
Various product features such as noise free operations and high energy efficiency & density conversion have been surging their demand in various automotive types and trend is expected to continue over the next eight years. Major automobile manufacturers have also started implementing fuel cell vehicle program to follow emission standards by aforementioned regulatory bodies.
To reduce environmental effects from vehicles emission, the U.S. Department of Energy has fixed certain standards and goals. Fuel cell vehicles are highly proficient and meet various standards, which makes them a most suitable substitute to standard fuel-based eight. This factor is expected to be one of the key drivers for industry growth over the next seven years.
Durability is one of the most important factors for consumers worldwide. There is a definite durability range set by the U.S. Department of Energy. The product is considered to meet these ranges which are expected to fuel demand over the forecast period. Increasing demand for fuel cell based automobile is also anticipated to create numerous business prospects and employment mainly in R&D field as the market is still in its developing stage.
The products are primarily employed in the transportation sector which helps in expanding energy sources and reduces environmental effects, such as lower carbon emission levels, causing less global warming and greenhouse effect and hence decrease in air pollutants. This is expected to have a positive impact on the industry over the next eight years.
As per National Research Council, there has been a reduction in greenhouse gasses emission level over the past few years owing to increasing hydrogen-based fuel cell vehicles. The study also stated that there is a collapse in oil consumption level, chiefly in the transportation sector. Reduction in oil consumption and in requirement of oil import while greenhouse emissions and minimal air pollutants will result in no climate change. Reduced dependence on oil imports will further effect into deficit trade balance, largely in emerging regions.
National Research Council mentioned that the commercialization of vehicles is expected to start in 2015, and the number of automobiles is expected to grow over 2 million by 2020. Increasing demand primarily in public transit systems is anticipated to drive the global market over the next eight years.
Global fuel cell vehicle market is segmented into forklifts, airplanes, submarines, buses, motorcycles & bicycles, trams, and boats. The buses segment is anticipated to account for majority market share followed by bicycles & motorcycles. Forklifts and airplanes are expected to grow at a substantial growth rate over the forecast period.
Geographically, the global fuel cell vehicle market is segmented into North America, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Middle East and Africa, and Europe. North America is anticipated to witness significant growth over the next eight years owing to numerous government initiatives for the advancement of hydrogen infrastructure to encourage hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in this region. The U.S., Germany, France, the UK, and Italy are projected to account for highest growth in these regions primarily due to rising R&D endeavors by the companies and presence of large market players dedicated to the developing technology.
Asia-Pacific is expected to witness the fastest growth over the forecast period owing to government initiatives encouraging the technology mostly in emerging nations such as China, India, Vietnam, and South Korea. These are projected to account for the significant market share in the region on account of rising industrial application, economic developments and technology adoption for various industrial operations.
The Middle East & Africa is projected to see significant growth over the next eight years owing to increasing urbanization, globalization, and industrialization. The market has high potential due to growing economic development and rising purchasing power parity of consumers.
Key players dominating the global industry include Acumentrics SOFC Corporation, Altergy Systems, Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation Corp., BIC Consumer Products, Cellkraft AB, Ballard Power Systems, Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd. While, other significant players include BMW, Audi AG, GreenGT, Proton Power Systems PLC, Hydrogenics, Nissan, Toyota Motor Corporation, Daimler AG, Ballard, and VW Group. Manufacturers have been conducting extensive studies and research for technological developments. The market is likely to witness a considerable number of new entrants over next eight years.
Through mergers & acquisitions and strategic expansions, numerous companies have been trying to cater large customer base. Rising R&D expenditure and continuous innovation are expected to be key strategies over the next eight years to develop premium and high-value products with an optimum cost for the highly price sensitive industry.
Research Support Specialist, USA