Automakers such as Toyota, Hyundai, BMW and Renault continue to invest in the development of fuel cell electric vehicles even as the auto industry shifts to battery-powered technology. There may be some potential in a hydrogen car, although Volkswagen doesn’t see much sense in it and has no plans to launch a production model with a hydrogen powertrain. At least, not in this decade.
Spanish Division of AutoBild recently had the opportunity to speak with Volkswagen CEO Thomas Schafer at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show. In Las Vegas, the German executive told the publication that hydrogen is not for Volkswagen as it has some major drawbacks compared to battery technology.
“Not competitive, especially for a passenger car, the tank takes up space in the cabin. Maybe for commercial vehicles, but not for passenger cars. So, I don’t see this happening in this decade. Not at Volkswagen.”
Toyota and BMW are some of the companies investing the most in hydrogen technology for passenger cars. The Bavarians recently started production of a hydrogen-powered BMW X5 test car, while the Japanese company unveiled the Corolla Cross H2 Concept exploring new fuel cell technologies. Meanwhile, Renault is working on its next-generation Master van, which is reportedly getting a hydrogen version.
Volkswagen, in turn, appears to be focused on its BEV strategy. In Las Vegas, the automaker is showcasing its sixth ID member in the form of the ID.7 – the brand’s first electric sedan. The manufacturer enjoys a very loyal customer base, according to Schafer, with more consumers looking to switch from combustion-powered cars to electric vehicles.
Volkswagen’s global sales in 2022 are down by 7 percent but its electric vehicles are selling well. The chip shortage problem has not gone away, and the company hopes to continue to see its negative effects throughout 2023. However, demand is high.