zero carbon emissions—such as from renewable energy sources—is expected to be an area of growing importance, both during and after a transition to HFCVs.


CONCLUSION 8: The committee estimates that total government-industry spending on RD&D needed to facilitate the transition to HFCVs is roughly $16 billion over the 16-year period from 2008 through 2023, of which about 30 percent (roughly $5 billion) would come from U.S. government sources. Government and private spending beyond 2023 also will likely be required to support longer-term needs, but such estimates were beyond the scope of this study. See Chapter 7.

Vehicle Deployment Costs for the Transition

The committee’s estimate of private plus government expenditures required to deploy the maximum practicable number of fuel cell vehicles by 2020 and beyond (as reflected by the Hydrogen Success scenario) is shown in Figure S.3, which indicates total annual costs for the two main components of commercial deployment: vehicle costs and hydrogen fuel costs. Capital investments for infrastructure to produce and deliver hydrogen account for approximately half of the annual hydrogen costs, with the remaining half being operating costs, mainly the cost of natural gas for hydrogen production.

Total annual costs grow rapidly as increasing numbers of vehicles are deployed. The cumulative cost of fuel cell vehicles purchased during the transition period 2012-2023 is about $170 billion, or an average of $30,000 per vehicle (see Table S.1). Of this, $40 billion (an average of $7,000 per vehicle) represents the additional investment for HFCVs over the roughly $130 billion “base vehicle” cost of an equivalent number of conventional vehicles. The additional cost of supplying hydrogen over this period is $16 billion. Thus, the cumulative expenditure for the transition totals $184 billion, most of which (91 percent) is for the production of vehicles, with the remaining 9 percent for hydrogen supply (roughly half for infrastructure and half for operating costs).

If the RD&D costs discussed above are added to the vehicle and hydrogen production costs, the budget roadmap shown in Figure S.3 would increase by approximately $1 billion per year ($16 billion total). This would bring the cumulative total to $200 billion for the period 2008-2023. Table S.1 summarizes the cumulative costs of the budget roadmap.

FIGURE S.3 Total annual expenditures for vehicles and hydrogen supply for transition to the breakeven year for the Hydrogen Success case, excluding RD&D costs. The cumulative cost, shared by government and industry, totals $184 billion, of which 91 percent is the cost of fuel cell vehicles and 9 percent is the cost of hydrogen supply (about half for infrastructure costs and half for additional operating costs, mainly natural gas feedstock). The additional $16 billion in private plus government RD&D costs over this period would bring the overall total to $200 billion.



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