Fuel Cell Powertrain: Introduction

  • Fuel cell powertrain is an electrically driven system, wherein energy stored as hydrogen gets converted into electricity through a fuel cell. Fuel cells are used in several applications including material handling, emergency backup power, and transportation. Unlike internal combustion engine powertrain system, fuel cell power train is highly efficient and ecofriendly, as it does not emit harmful emissions. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the adoption of fuel cell powertrain helps enhance energy security.

Key Drivers & Restraints of Fuel Cell Powertrain Market

  • Fossil fuel consumption has been increasing significantly across the world. Transportation sector is the major consumer of fossil fuel. Increase in consumption of fossil fuel has led to an increase in the concentration level of greenhouse gas emission and air pollutants in the environment. Most of these issues are associated with the usage of conventional engines, ICEs (internal-combustion engines), which primarily depend on hydrocarbon fuels. In order to reduce GHG emissions, several low polluting vehicles and fuels have been introduced to improve environmental conditions. Vehicle technologies include battery powered electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicle, compression ignition (CI) or park-ignition (SI) engines, and advanced internal combustion engine (ICE). Fuel cell vehicles that use hydrogen offer lower emissions than other alternatives. This makes their adoption viable due to their low emission technology. In turn, this is expected to drive the global fuel cell powertrain market during the forecast period.
  • Increase in research & development activities to make hydrogen powered vehicles safe, eco-friendly, and affordable is also anticipated to propel the global fuel cell powertrain market in the near future

COVID-19 Impact Analysis

  • Governments of various countries implemented nationwide lockdowns as part of measures to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, sale and manufacturing facilities of new vehicles came to a halt across the globe. This adversely affected the demand for fuel cell powertrain in the market.

Light Commercial Vehicles Vehicle Type Segment to Hold Key Share of Global Market

  • The global fuel cell powertrain market can be segmented based on component, vehicle type, power output, and region
  • In terms of component, the global fuel cell powertrain market can be divided into hydrogen storage system battery system, drive system, fuel cell system, and others
  • In terms of vehicle type, the global fuel cell powertrain market can be segregated into passenger cars, light commercial vehicles, trucks, and buses. The light commercial vehicles segment is anticipated to expand significantly during the forecast period.
  • Based on power output, the global fuel cell powertrain market can be classified into <150 KW, 150-250 KW, and >250 KW

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Recent Development

  • In September 2019, Hyundai Motor Company signed an agreement with Cummins Inc. to design electric and fuel cell powertrains. The new electric and fuel cell powertrains will combine Cummins’ control systems, battery, and electric motors with Hyundai's fuel-cell technologies. These two companies aim to collaborate with OEM’s of North America for integration of these systems into their vehicles.
  • In September 2019, BMW introduced i Hydrogen NEXT at the Frankfurt Motor Show. i Hydrogen NEXT generates about 125 kW (170 hp) of electrical energy from the chemical reaction between oxygen and hydrogen from the ambient air. The vehicle consists of two 700 bar tanks that can hold six kilograms of hydrogen together.

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Asia Pacific to Hold Major Share of Global Fuel Cell Powertrain Market

  • In terms of region, the global fuel cell powertrain market can be split into Middle East & Africa, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America
  • The fuel cell powertrain market in Asia Pacific is expected to expand at a significant pace during the forecast period. Rise in demand for environment friendly and fuel efficient vehicles is anticipated to propel the fuel cell powertrain market in the region. Growth of the market in Asia Pacific can also be ascribed to the presence of several domestic and international fuel cell power train manufacturers such as Denso Corporation, Shanghai Fuel Cell Vehicle Power System Co., Ltd, and Doosan Corporation across the region.
  • North America is likely to be a stable region of the global fuel cell powertrain market during the forecast period. Introduction of strict norms and regulations to minimize GHG emissions is a key factor propelling the demand for fuel cell powertrain across the region.
  • Europe is also projected to hold vital share of the global fuel cell powertrain market in the near future due to an increase in efforts of automakers to lower vehicle weight in order to optimize its efficiency

Prominent Players Operating in Global Market

Leading companies operating in the global fuel cell powertrain market include:

  • Ballard Power Systems
  • Cummins Inc.
  • Denso Corporation
  • Robert Bosch GmbH
  • FEV

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