Business Insider/Hollis Johnson
Automakers are lining up to invest in hydrogen-powered vehicles, even though the big bucks are still being spent on battery-powered cars.
From an infrastructure standpoint, purely electric vehicles make more sense. There are 15,959 electric charging stations in the United States, but only 35 hydrogen stations in the entire US, according to the US Department of Energy. Of those 35 hydrogen stations, only 3 can be found outside of California.
But car makers still see potential in hydrogen technology. Batteries are expensive, take a long time to charge, and have limitations when it comes to driving range. Hydrogen-powered vehicles, on the other hand, have longer ranges and offer short re-fill times.
Scroll down for a look at all the hydrogen-powered vehicles in the works:
1. We would be remiss to not start with the Honda Clarity, which Honda began leasing in California at the end of 2016.
The EPA recently gave the car an estimated range of 366 miles — the longest range of any zero-emissions vehicle. Honda says the Clarity has a refuel time of just three to five minutes.
Honda and General Motors have invested $ 85 million to mass produce hydrogen fuel cells for vehicles beginning in 2020. Honda is currently working with Northeast regulators to introduce the car in states like New York and Connecticut.
Source: Business Insider, Honda Clarity review
2. General Motors revealed its monster of a hydrogen-powered car at the at the fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army in October.
The car comes with 37-inch tires and stands at more than 6.5-feet tall and 7-feet wide. The US Army will test the car in extreme conditions this year to determine whether it’s viable for missions.
GM says it has achieved 3.1 million miles of hydrogen fuel cell testing.
3. Toyota has been working on hydrogen-powered cars the longest, having put 23 years into the technology. Here we see its hydrogen car, the Toyota Mirai.
The automaker has been selling the Toyota Mirai in Japan since December 2014, but began sales in California in October 2015 — marking the first time hydrogen-powered vehicles were sold in the United States.
Toyota plans to sell 30,000 a year worldwide by 2020.
The Toyota Mirai has an EPA estimated range of 312 miles and refuels in just 5 minutes.
You can read Business Insider’s Toyota Mirai review here.
The Mirai comes with a front radar sensor and camera that allows it to detect lane drift and alert the driver. It also comes with automatic emergency braking.
The car comes with two touchscreens. The top one can be used for music selection and navigation, while the one on the bottom controls the temperature and audio output.
Toyota is also testing its fuel-cell technology in an 18-wheeler truck located in the Port of Los Angeles. What will come of the project is still unknown, but Toyota said it’s interested in using hydrogen tech in everything from forklifts to SUVs.
Toyota is also releasing a fleet of 100 hydrogen-powered buses in Japan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Like Honda, Toyota is also working with regulators in the Northeast to set up a hydrogen infrastructure.
Source: Business Insider
4. Lexus wants to unveil its hydrogen-powered car in 2020, but we have yet to hear details on its range or other specs.
It’s worth noting that Lexus’ parent company is Toyota.
The car comes with high-tech perks like a display that can be controlled with simple hand gestures.
5. Audi unveiled a concept car, the h-tron quattro, at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show that the automaker says can drive 372 miles on hydrogen alone.
Audi says the mustard yellow, fuel cell car can go from 0 to 62 miles per hour in under 7.1 seconds.
The h-tron quattro comes with a “virtual cockpit” that replaces the instrument panel and center console with digital screens. It also comes with a driver assist system that projects your surroundings in real-time so you can change lanes and merge easier.
It’s still unclear if Audi will go through with making a production version of the hydrogen car, but the automaker has said it’s exploring the technology.
6. BMW is working on a hydrogen car starting in 2020.
BMW will collaborate with Toyota to build the hydrogen drivetrains in its 2020 car.
BMW says its hydrogen car will have a range exceeding 300 miles and a refuel time of under five minutes.
7. Ford has back-tracked on its hydrogen plans, but it says it’s still exploring the technology.
In January 2013, Ford announced it was teaming up with Mercedes-Benz’s parent company Daimler and Nissan to accelerate the creation of fuel cell technology and potentially release a mass-market vehicle in 2017.
Ford CTO Raj Nair, however, told Business Insider that the company will not release a hydrogen-powered car this year. Nair said the alliance still exists, but Ford’s focus is on battery-powered vehicles as they have made more progress.
“On the passenger side, I’m probably more bullish on the battery electric side than on fuel cells,” he said. “But we are still investing and we are still doing research, and it’s still something that we are very interested in.”
8. Mercedes-Benz will launch a new vehicle generation based on its plug-in hydrogen car called the GLC F-Cell at some point this year. The automaker says the GLC F-Cell has an all-electric range of 30 miles and a collective range of 310 miles with the hydrogen fuel cell.
The hydrogen tank can be refilled in just three minutes. Mercedes said the fuel-cell stack is being developed through its joint venture with Ford.
9. Startup Nikola Moto Company unveiled its hydrogen-powered truck last December that it said will have a range between 800 miles and 1,200 miles.
Source: Business Insider
Nikola plans to finish building out an infrastructure of 364 hydrogen stations starting by 2019.
The hydrogen-powered truck will cost $ 5,000 to $ 7,000 a month to lease and is slated to arrive in 2020.
10. Hyundai has been leasing its Tucson Fuel Cell, a compact SUV, in California. But as of April, the automaker has only delivered 140 of the hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Hyundai’s luxury brand Genesis unveiled a stunning hydrogen concept, the GV80, at the New York Auto Show in April. The SUV, however, won’t enter production.
You can read more about the GV80 concept here.
11. Welsh start-up Riversimple is allowing UK drivers lease its hydrogen-powered car, the Rasa. Riversimple is offering three-month and six-month leases for 60 to 80 UK residents.
The car boasts a 300-mile range and is super light-weight, coming in under 1,300 pounds.
But we’re a big fan of the Rasa’s interior. The steering wheel is wrapped in a material called alcantara, giving it a velvety, luxurious feel.
12. Italian design house Pininfarina is doing a limited production run of its hydrogen-powered car, the H2 Speed. It can accelerate to 62 mph in just 3.4 seconds.
The car can reach a top speed of 186 mph and refuels in just three minutes. Pininfarina has yet to release the car’s range.
The design house is building 10 versions of the H2 Speed, with production models hitting the roads in 12 to 14 months. But it will cost a whopping $ 2.5 million.
Cadie Thompson contributed to this report.