The message has been hinted at before, but the federal government is now serious about shifting the focus away from hydrogen and onto plug-in vehicles. In an important statement yesterday, Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that hydrogen vehicles are still 10 to 20 years away from practicality and that millions in federal government funding for hydrogen programs will be cut from the 2010 federal budget. Chu said, "We asked ourselves, 'Is it likely in the next 10 or 15, 20 years that we will covert to a hydrogen car economy?' The answer, we felt, was 'no'" (well, duh).
Did we mention this is a big reversal? Just a few weeks ago, Chu announced $41.9 million for hydrogen projects. A major switch, but not totally surprising. During the presidential campaign last fall, Obama did call for a million PHEVs by 2015.
The U.S. Fuel Cell Council the National Hydrogen Association quickly released a joint statement against the budget cuts. The statement reads, in part:
Read it in full after the jump. There will be much more to come on this, without a doubt. The fallout will take months (years?) to fully understand.
UPDATE: Greg Blencoe writes in to remind us of the 25 things he wishes Obama knew about hydrogen cars.