While automakers such as Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai have said they will start selling fuel-cell cars by 2015, the apparent benefits of hydrogen – gasoline-vehicle-like driving range and zero emissions (water vapor, technically) – have been outweighed by the high costs of developing both hydrogen fuel-cell cars and the required refueling stations. Last month, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn discounted the possibility of developing fuel-cell vehicles and infrastructure at a sustainable cost.
Still, while the Obama Administration originally cut hydrogen fuel cell funding compared to federal investment during the George W. Bush administration, H2 funding may rise again thanks to a project called H2USA, Automotive News reported last month. The government's H2-push is joined by Daimler, Ford and Nissan, which said in January that they'd work together to accelerate the development of fuel-cell powertrain technology.
As of March 25, the US Department of Energy counted 58 hydrogen stations nationwide, including 24 in California.