In a very well-attended session E4tech Director Adam Chase described the challenges of the electric vehicle and pointed to a clear role for an affordable fuel cell in offering greater range and faster refuelling. On-going developments could be in volume production by 2020 leading to a fuel cell powertrain whose cost is competitive with a more sophisticated IC engine system, such as a Euro-6 Diesel-Hybrid. The authors observe that fuel cell uptake is already rising in niches such as the fork-lift and bus markets; first car products will launch in 2014-15, but significant sales are more likely post 2020, expanding into other vehicle applications including range-extension for EVs.
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