The long-running joke is that, "hydrogen is the fuel of the future, and it always will be." But at the Los Angeles Auto Show and Tokyo Motor Show this week, Honda and Toyota are both showing off H2-powered concept vehicles that foreshadow production models coming around 2015. Toyota has the FCV Concept and Honda will reveal the FCEV Concept later today. In fact, the senior engineer for clean vehicles at the Union of Concerned Scientists, David Reichmuth, says FCEVs are "a vital part of the solution to reduce pollution and oil use from transportation. These vehicles have been promised for some time, so it's exciting to be on the cusp of having fuel cell vehicles in new car showrooms."
Pure electric vehicle pioneers, though, are not as excited. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk famously said recently that fuel cells "are so bullsh*t," and now Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn is adding his voice to the chorus questioning if the time for H2 is now. Speaking in Tokyo this week, Ghosn told Bloomberg, "I would be very curious and interested to see competitors who say they are going to mass market the car in 2015. Where is the infrastructure? Who's going to build it?" See the video interview below. Back in 2011, Nissan was all about 2015, but when it announced a hydrogen-collaboration with BMW and Daimler earlier this year, the target date was 2017.
"Where is the hydrogen infrastructure? Who's going to build it?" - Carlos Ghosn
As for Nissan's battery-powered EV progress, Ghosn admitted to Bloomberg that it will likely take an extra two or three years to hit his previously announced sales target of 1.5 million EVs by 2016. "2016 was optimistic? Yes, obviously, we are already practically in 2014, we know what are the volumes. We continue to believe that electric cars are going to the major component of the car industry."