Germans are excited about the prospect of hydrogen cars, but are concerned about the cost and the availability of hydrogen refuelling stations, according to new research.
According to the Berlin-based Independent Institute for Environmental Issues (UfU), Germans have no safety concerns about hydrogen-fuelled vehicles either and trust their country’s engineers and in the thoroughness of authorities to deliver safe fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs).
In a survey of 2,500 German citizens as part of the HYTrust research project, UfU discovered that 89 per cent believe any public road approved hydrogen vehicle will be as safe as any other vehicle.
The scientific project manager Dr. René Zimmer from UfU explains why Germans appear excited about the prospect of hydrogen-fuelled models: "The hydrogen car has the same benefits as the conventional car and promises zero-emission mobility as an added value. This means driving a car with a quiet conscience.”
"If hydrogen cars are officially sold, [they] assume that they are safe. They would even have nothing against living next to a hydrogen filling station. This risk is not rated higher than the risk to live next a conventional gas station,” he adds.
But Germans are sceptical about whether there will be a sufficient network of refuelling stations to run hydrogen cars on and whether hydrogen cars will be affordable.
Zimmer adds: "As long as the network of refuelling stations isn’t built, and the probable costs of hydrogen cars [remains] significantly higher than those of conventional vehicles, the willingness to buy remains limited."
However, there is a lot of confidence in the marketability of hydrogen vehicles: "Three out of four respondents expect that it will be possible to buy such a car within the next ten years," Zimmer says.
According to René Zimmer, this should give manufacturers enough flexibility for the market introduction of hydrogen cars.
Presentation to the study is available at www.hytrust.de.