Track 1: Markets and Demand
The premise of our exploration of FCV markets is that it will be very difficult to successfully market FCVs simply as clean cars and trucks, particularly given the increasing availability of gasoline hybrids. Thus, the primary conceptual framework for this research is to explore FCVs as “new products” rather than as incremental products competing on the familiar dimensions ofconventional gasoline vehicles. This “new product” framework internalizes and makes explicit a search for key uncertainties and potential drivers of future markets for hydrogen and FCVs.
Compared to gasoline vehicles and previous alternative-fuel vehicles, FCVs have a unique set of attributes that provide both new and old, superior and inferior performance, services, and features. Initial negatives include limited existing refueling infrastructure, shorter driving range per refueling, perceived safety risks, and uncertain ownership and operating costs. Positively, FCVs could offer not just enhanced societal benefits, but also a potential set of privately valuable novel services through the integration of mobility, communications, and electricity infrastructures into a single platform.
The challenge is to develop research methods that can elucidate the potential societal and private consumer values of FCVs, identify target markets, describe possible demand, and aid the design of the best pathways and strategies to facilitate the expression of those values in policies and markets. Researchers will both adapt and enhance earlier market research methods pioneered for alternative vehicles, and continue to explore and apply new methods.
The potential of hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicles (H2FCVs) to provide various benefits (e.g., reduced emissions) has been described in detail, it is often considered difficult to justify the private investment necessary to achieve these social benefits. This conundrum is particularly acute in private-vehicle markets where FCVs can justifiably be seen as expensive and inferior relative to today's cars and trucks. Accordingly, the commercialization pathways for H2 as a transportation fuel are unclear.
The Future Vehicles Markets Project is looking into how consumers respond to advanced new vehicles like hybrid-electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.
This project is concentrated around on-board hydrogen storage and its interface with refueling infrastructure.
Research Faculty: Andrew F. Burke