Volkswagen will stay away from making hydrogen-powered passenger cars in the next decade and will focus its efforts on further developing EV technology. The statements come from the brand’s CEO, Thomas Schafer, who spoke to the Spanish division of AutoBild at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The German exec told the publication that hydrogen has some big disadvantages compared to battery technology and that it’s not for Volkswagen, at least not in the next ten years:
“It's not competitive, especially not for passenger cars, the tanks take up space in the cabin. Maybe for commercial vehicles, but not in the passenger car. So, I don't see this happening in this decade. Not at Volkswagen,” Schafer told AudiBild Spain.
Volkswagen seems to have a very loyal customer base, with more and more people wishing to switch from internal combustion-engined cars to electric vehicles, with global sales in 2022 going down by 7 percent, but with good numbers on the EV front.
By contrast to the German brand CEO’s remarks, Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, and BMW are some of the more prominent names in the automotive industry that seem to think hydrogen has a future, with massive investments in the technology. Honda sold the Clarity Fuel Cell, Hyundai has the Nexo Fuel Cell, BMW has rolled out some prototype X5s with fuel cell technology, and Toyota has the Mirai and is exploring the segment further after unveiling the Corolla Cross H2 Concept at the end of 2022.
However, sales of hydrogen fuel cell cars (FCV or FCEV) have been struggling in the United States in the last decade, with just 2,707 units sold in 2022 and less than 15,000 FCVs getting into customers hands in the past 11 years. Compare that with VW’s sales of the ID.4 EV alone, which amounted to more than 20,000 units in the US last year, and the German executive’s remarks seem to make sense, at least from a sales perspective.