The Hydrogen Superhighway isn't much more than a dirt path right now, with just 27 hydrogen refueling stations installed in the entire world last year, Green Car Reports says, citing Fuel Cell Today. North America was home to eight new hydrogen stations, and five stations were added in Germany. The 27 stations mark a 15-percent increase from 2011 totals.
While automakers such as Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai have said they will start selling fuel-cell cars by 2015, the apparent benefits of hydrogen – gasoline-vehicle-like driving range and zero emissions (water vapor, technically) – have been outweighed by the high costs of developing both hydrogen fuel-cell cars and the required refueling stations. Last month, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn discounted the possibility of developing fuel-cell vehicles and infrastructure at a sustainable cost.
Still, while the Obama Administration originally cut hydrogen fuel cell funding compared to federal investment during the George W. Bush administration, H2 funding may rise again thanks to a project called H2USA, Automotive News reported last month. The government's H2-push is joined by Daimler, Ford and Nissan, which said in January that they'd work together to accelerate the development of fuel-cell powertrain technology.
As of March 25, the US Department of Energy counted 58 hydrogen stations nationwide, including 24 in California.