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Hydrogen Power Could Go Mainstream After All

Over 5,000 fueling stations will be in use by 2020, says study.

by on Jul.19, 2011

GM is testing the viability of its hydrogen-powered Equinox prototype as part of a Hawaiian pilot program.

Hydrogen is the fuel of the future, goes the old saw, and always will be.  A decade ago, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles were being billed as the green power source of choice, but interest has waned, in recent years as emphasis shifts to battery power.

But a new study suggests there’ll be a big market for the clean, lightweight gas, after all.  According to Pike Research, there will be at least 5,200 hydrogen fueling stations in operation around the globe by 2020, the result of an estimated $8.4 billion investment effort.

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Demand for the fuel is forecast to grow to 418 million kilograms (920 million pounds) annually, compared to 775,000 kilograms (1.7 million pounds) today.

“Currently, the major players in hydrogen fueling are large multinationals: the industrial gas companies, and the energy and gas companies, both those that operate retail gas stations and those that provide fuels for the grid. These companies tend to favor large-scale hydrogen infrastructure options,” explains Pike senior analyst Lisa Jerram.

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BMW Sees Green

Automaker must launch an array of alternative powertrains - without sacrificing its performance roots.

by on Sep.02, 2009

From hybrids to hydrogen vehicles, BMW promises to go green, but can the maker hold down costs – and maintain the distinctive ride and performance that justifies its hefty product premium?

From hybrids to hydrogen vehicles - and possibly with diesel-hybrids, like this Vision Concept - BMW promises to go green, but can the maker hold down costs – and maintain the distinctive ride and performance that justifies its hefty product premium?

BMW has an alternative Vision of the future.

No, the Vision show car making its debut at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, this month, won’t be rolling into showrooms anytime soon.  Its diesel-hybrid powertrain is far too complicated and expensive to produce – for now.  But Vision concept underscores the automaker’s increasingly energetic search for cleaner, high-mileage technology that can supplement, potentially even replace, the traditional powertrains that it has long relied on.

But “going green” poses some potentially serious challenges for the company, officials acknowledge.  For one thing, while new laws may require – and consumers demand – cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles, the German maker must maintain the distinctive performance and ride that allows it to charge a premium for vehicles ranging from the subcompact 1-Series to its big 7-er sedans.

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There’s also the issue of cost.  Despite the traditional premium consumers have paid for the marque’s “spinner” logo, BMW officials question how much more motorists will shell out for “clean” vehicles.

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