In an update to Greg Blencoe's hydrogen debate challenge from the other day, Greg has emailed the following to AutoblogGreen. I assume (but am not certain) that this is part of an email discussion between the two contenders. The text below is as emailed to us, the names I added for (what I hope is) clarity:

Romm: "BTW, what year will fuel cell cars be 1% of the new car market? That looks ripe for a bet."

Blencoe: "You got it. I'll say 2015. I know your answer is going to be something like 2050, so don't even bother giving me your prediction. How about this? I win if fuel cell cars hit 1% of the new car market during 2015 or before. You win if it is 2016 or after. What are the stakes?"

OK, any readers want to pick their sides here? Seems like a fun guessing game. There are something like 7.5-to-8 million vehicles sold in the U.S. a year, and one percent of that would make 75,000 to 80,000 hydrogen cars. In eight years? No way. Last year, the DOE (in a Honolulu conference I was able to attend) gave the three possible scenarios for hydrogen cars in America:
  1. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs) are introduced widely in 2015, with government support for hundreds or thousands of vehicles a year by 2012 and tens of thousands by 2018. This will result in 2 million HFCVs by 2025.
  2. The government supports thousands of HFCVs by 2012, tens of thousands by 2015 and hundreds of thousands by 2018. This gives 5 million HFCVs by 2025.
  3. Lastly, the government supports thousands a year by 2012 and millions a year by 2021, giving 10 million by 2025. The HFCVs come from multiple companies and in lots of model choices.
So, not even the hydrogen-happy federal government thinks we'll have 80,000 hydrogen cars in eight years (unless that scenario #2 exceeds expectations. You can make your own decision, but I recommend reading the DOE's take on the matter before deciding Blencoe is gonna lose this bet.

[Source: Greg Blencoe, DOE]


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