In many communities, electric buses have been the latest innovation to grab the attention of passengers and mayors alike. While passengers are just thrilled about the quiet and smooth ride, mass transit companies are looking for businesses that can deliver these types of vehicles, especially fuel cell ones, as quickly as possible. However, few options are for sale, despite a boost in demand.
If there was one thing that the Diesel Summit made abundantly clear, it was the lack of zero-emission, or even low-emission, cars on the German market. The 28 mayors who met with interim chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Nov. 28, 2017, were faced with a dilemma. They would like to purchase electric buses and promote electric cabs, but there aren’t any on the market, at least in Germany.
The marketing of fuel cell buses has begun: The successful completion of several showcase projects (see HZwei issues from January 2011 and 2014 and March 2017) and the conclusion of the CHIC conference in London late last year were followed this January by the launch of the Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles across Europe, or JIVE for short, and MEHRLIN
A new megatrend needs time to develop. The last 15 years established the foundation for the coming breakthrough of fuel cells and a steadily growing interest in their use. Here’s why: Historically, technological revolutions often needed 15 years before a breakthrough was achieved. But once you’re past that point, everything goes very quickly, since no market actor wants to remain on the sidelines. This is exactly what’s happening to the fuel cell across all markets and applications.
The fuel-cell companies quoted on the stock exchange have used 2015 perfectly to strengthen their market positions. These efforts have resulted in more orders, improved balance sheets, increased capital and some very important strategic collaborations as well trendsetting product developments. This lets us conclude for 2016 that probably most of these companies – if not all – will be able to become cash-flow positive or even generate sustainable profits after many years of preparing for this moment.