TABLE 6.1 Assumed Cost and Performance of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles and Gasoline Reference Vehiclesa


Case 1: Hydrogen Success

Case 1b: Hydrogen Partial Success

Reference Gasoline ICEV (AEO 2008)

Efficient Gasoline ICEV (Case 2)

FC drivetrain retail price (including fuel cell and hydrogen storage

Costs fall with learning and manufacturing scale to $100/kW

Costs fall with learning and manufacturing scale to $130/kW



HFCV retail price increment compared to gasoline reference vehicle

>$100,000 (initially) → $3,600 (learned out)

>$100,000 (initially)→ $6,100 (learned out)


FCV market Introduction

2012 (Case 1)

2010 (Case 1a)


New car fuel economya

51 mpgge (2015) → 85 mpgge (2050) = 2 × efficient gasoline case

45 mpgge (2015) → 73 mpgge (2050) = 1.75 × efficient gasoline case

2005: 20.2 mpg

2015: 25.0

2050: 31.7

20.2 mpg



NOTE: Case 1a, Hydrogen Accelerated, is the same as Case 1, Hydrogen Success, for these values. Costs and fuel economy of HFCVs are based on a reference midsize vehicle with an 80 kW fuel cell. While small relative to most current engines, this would give equivalent performance, in part because of weight reductions in the body. This vehicle is assumed to represent the range of vehicles from small to large. Given all the other uncertainties in this analysis and the limited resources available to the committee, this assumption was both reasonable and unavoidable.

aOn-road fuel economy is assumed to be 80 percent of the EPA average.

FIGURE 6.1 Hydrogen cases: Number of gasoline and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the fleet over time for three hydrogen cases.

are on the road, about the same rate of market penetration as hybrid electric vehicles have experienced.

  • Case 2 (ICEV Efficiency) investigates the impact of improving conventional internal combustion engine ICEV fuel economy with currently feasible and expected technology. Fuel economy more than doubles by 2050, as shown in Table 6.1, in the committee’s judgment the maximum practical rate with evolutionary vehicle technology. This analysis is based on the results in Chapter 4.

FIGURE 6.2 Hydrogen cases: Fraction of new gasoline and hydrogen vehicles sold each year.

  • Case 3 (Biofuels) examines the large-scale use of biofuels production from crop and cellulosic feedstocks. This level of production, equivalent to a maximum practical rate, is based on the results in Chapter 4.

  • Case 4 (Portfolio), “all of the above,” analyzes the impact if HFCVs, more efficient conventional vehicles, and biofuels are all pursued simultaneously.

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