fleetdigest June 2019
The June 2019 issue of fleetdigest is now available online. You can flip through it here, but first, a few words from the Senior Editor-in-Chief of fleetdigest, Jack Kazmierski.
Could hydrogen be the fuel of the future for fleet?
Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles have been making headlines recently, with a couple of major manufacturers introducing new models or expanded availability, and with some stakeholders announcing plans to erect hydrogen fuelling stations in some parts of Canada.
For the most part, fuel-cell vehicles are victims of the chicken-and-egg conundrum. It’s difficult to bring them to market because there are no fuelling stations available, and no one wants to invest in fuelling stations since there’s not much demand for hydrogen fuel.
Personally, I like the strategy Toyota seems to be employing by introducing their fuel-cell vehicle, the Mirai, to the fleet market first. Rather than trying to convince the general public that hydrogen is a viable alternative fuel, and then having to explain to buyers that they won’t be able to find fuel for their fuel-cell vehicles once they buy one, why not focus on fleet?
This makes sense for a couple of reasons. First, any organization that invests in a fleet of fuel-cell vehicles will have the wherewithal to set up either a single fuelling station that will service the entire fleet or a number of fuelling stations in strategic locations throughout a given territory.
Second, if manufacturers can get enough of their fuel-cell vehicles onto public roads through fleet, then consumers might start paying more attention, as well as get used to the idea of hydrogen as a fuel.
EVs set the pace
I think back to the time when electric charging stations were a novelty. You simply didn’t see any around. Fast-forward to today, and although Canada is still far from having a comprehensive network of EV charging stations, it’s very common to see them outside hotels, in mall parking lots, and even on some public roads.
It took a while for consumers to accept the idea that you can plug a vehicle into an outlet, but we’re there now. EVs no longer turn heads. They’ve become commonplace.
Perhaps the acceptance curve for fuel-cell vehicles will be similar. Perhaps we’ll soon see hydrogen fuelling stations springing up in strategic location across the country, right beside traditional gas pumps.
The technology certainly makes sense—mix two parts hydrogen with one part oxygen to create electricity that powers your vehicle, and good ol’ H2O comes out of the tailpipe.
Now, all we need is for the public and the suppliers to keep the pace while fleets take the lead.