Wednesday, November 30, 2022
News Audi Pulls Out Of Hydrogen-Powered Car Development

Audi Pulls Out Of Hydrogen-Powered Car Development

Outside of business fleets such as delivery trucks, fuel-cell vehicles are dying a slow painful death


  • As a whole, fuel-cell vehicles are a commercial failure.

  • Numerous other OEMs have dropped out including Mercedes-Benz.

  • There are many reasons why fuel-cell vehicles are not as viable as EVs.


Audi is only the latest in a long line of automakers that have pulled the plug on hydrogen-powered vehicle development. The interest in fuel-cell technology was based in large part on its range potential however with EV battery development roaring full-speed ahead, further investments are being cut.

One of Audi’s reasons for dropped fuel-cell development is that they think it will be virtually impossible to produce enough CO2-neutral hydrogen for a huge number of passenger cars in the near future. According to Innovation Origins, and wise business people, the weak potential return on the vast investment makes the technology uninteresting.

2016 Audi h-tron quattro concept
Audi h-tron quattro concept | Photo: Audi

A study released by IDTechEx outlines many of the technology’s shortcomings including:

  • Currently, fuel cell cars cost over 1.6x as much to buy and up to three times as much to run in fuel costs, depending on your location (compared to the average internal combustion engine). In contrast, BEVs are increasingly reaching TCO parity with ICE vehicles in different markets around the world today.
  • FCEVs rely on Li-ion batteries for high power and energy harvesting, increasing costs (the Nikola One has a 250kWh battery).
  • Fuel cells have moving parts, which means maintenance costs can be higher than BEVs.
  • Batteries are heading towards million-mile life and 1000-mile range with 2 – 4C charging this decade: by the time fuel cell cars are affordable, batteries will have caught up, and will be cheaper.
  • Fundamentally, it costs more energy to drive per mile using hydrogen than a battery because of the 60% efficiency with heat losses, in addition to using electricity from the grid to create green hydrogen.

Despite all of these points, Porsche still believes that FCEVs have potential while bit Audi and Volkswagen have put an end to development. Mercedes-Benz (Daimler) and PSA have also cut investments while BMW is still on the fence.

Asian automakers such as Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai are still pushing forward if mostly because countries like Japan and South Korea have a more advanced refueling infrastructure.

2016 Audi h-tron quattro concept
Audi h-tron quattro concept | Photo: Audi

2016 Audi h-tron quattro concept
Audi h-tron quattro concept | Photo: Audi

2016 Audi h-tron quattro concept
Audi h-tron quattro concept | Photo: Audi

2016 Audi h-tron quattro concept
Audi h-tron quattro concept | Photo: Audi

2016 Audi h-tron quattro concept
Audi h-tron quattro concept | Photo: Audi

2016 Audi h-tron quattro concept
Audi h-tron quattro concept | Photo: Audi

2016 Audi h-tron quattro concept
Audi h-tron quattro concept | Photo: Audi

2016 Audi h-tron quattro concept
Audi h-tron quattro concept | Photo: Audi

2016 Audi h-tron quattro concept
Audi h-tron quattro concept | Photo: Audi

Trending Now

The Lexus CT Could Return as a Small SUV

The hybrid sub-compact hatchback was sold in North America between 2011 and 2017. The new CT could slot between the sub-compact UX and...

Faraday Future Again Uncertain About its Financial Situation

The EV start-up has been on the brink of bankruptcy a few times before. The company delayed the first deliveries of its FF91...

A $50,000 Lucid Electric Sedan Could be Coming in 2025

Lucid recently hinted at a third model to follow the Air and the Gravity. This will likely be a smaller sedan priced around...

Top 20 Vehicles with the Longest Potential Lifespan

New vehicle prices continue to climb out of many consumers' reach. Used vehicle pricing remains high however shopping for something older remains an...

Toyota bZ4X: Cold Weather Tests Show a Much Shorter Range than Advertised

The electric SUV only managed to drive 47% of its WLTP range in Danish tests conducted at 4˚C (39˚F). Even when compared with...
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.