Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV): Policy Advances to Enhance
Commercial Success

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV)

Usman Asif and Klaus Schmidt *

Citation: Asif, U.; Schmidt, K. Fuel
Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV): Policy
Advances to Enhance Commercial
Success. Sustainability 2021, 13, 5149.
https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095149
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 5 March 2021
Accepted: 20 April 2021
Published: 4 May 2021

 

Abstract: Many initiatives and policies attempt to make our air cleaner by reducing the carbon
foot imprint on our planet. Most of the existing and planned initiatives have as their objectives the
reduction of carbon dependency and the enhancement of newer or better technologies in the near
future. However, numerous policies exist for electric vehicles (EVs), and only some policies address
specific issues related to fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV). The lack of a distinction between the
policies for EVs and FCEVs provides obstacles for the advancement of FCEV-related technologies that
may otherwise be successful and competitive in the attempt to create a cleaner planet. Unfortunately,
the lack of this distinction is not always based on intellectual or scientific evidence. Therefore,
governments may need to introduce clearer policy distinctions in order to directly address 
FCEV related challenges that may not pertain to other EVs. Unfortunately, lobbyism continues to exist
that supports the maintenance of the status quo as new technologies may threaten traditional,
less sustainable approaches to provide opportunities for a better environment. This lobbyism
has partially succeeded in hindering the advancement of new technologies, partially because the
development of new technologies may reduce profit and business opportunities for traditionalists.
However, these challenges are slowly overcome as the demand for cleaner air and lower carbon
emissions has increased, and a stronger movement toward newer and cleaner technologies has gained
momentum. This paper will look at policies that have been either implemented or are in the process
of being implemented to address the challenge of overcoming traditional obstacles with respect to the
automobile industry. The paper reviewed, synthesized, and discussed policies in the USA, Japan, and
the European Union that helped implement new technologies with a focus on FCEVs for larger mass
markets. These regions were the focus of this paper because of their particular challenges. South
Korea and China were not included in this discussion as these countries already have equal or even
more advanced policies and initiatives in place.
Keywords: fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV); electric vehicles (EV); policy initiatives; battery electric
vehicles (BEV)

1. Background
Fuel cell technology, and specifically fuel cell technology for the automotive sector,
have a great potential to compete with their electric or hybrid counterparts in the attempt
to reduce carbon emissions. Hydrogen gas, powering the fuel cell, is a clean and versatile
energy carrier with zero CO2 and NOx emissions. Hydrogen can be stored and transported
in a liquid and gas form and is thus very versatile. Hydrogen can also be used in different
segments in power generation, public transport, and industry [1]. Specifically, with respect
to battery-operated electric vehicles (EVs), hydrogen-powered trucks, buses, cars, and
other commercial vehicles have major advantages due to lower energy density and slower
charging times.
As of today, however, fuel cell technology has been overshadowed by the rise of
hybrid and electric vehicles. One of the largest barriers to the continued deployment of
hydrogen technologies in the automotive sector is stringent laws and regulations. Legal
Sustainability 2021, 13, 5149. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095149 https://www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainabilitySustainability 2021, 13, 5149 2 of 12
regulations are more complex for fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) than for other technologies. Specifically, there are several legal barriers with respect to the fueling of FCEV.
Firstly, inaccurate hydrogen dispensing options and non-standardized safety regulations
are major issues in many European countries. For example, Belgium’s fuel distribution
system must adhere to very specific criteria that are different from its neighboring countries. Germany’s fuel dispensing tolerance is very low, and current hydrogen technology is
unable to achieve that threshold and, therefore, would require a relaxation of that rule to
allow for higher hydrogen fueling tolerances [2]. Nevertheless, current hydrogen fueling
technologies across Europe do not fulfill the same criteria and would, therefore, require
more intermediate regulations.
The development of a regulatory framework that defines the commercial production of
FCEVs would allow this technology to advance to a level to more effectively compete with
other technologies. However, without a clear regulatory framework that helps advance
FCEVs and reduce cost factors such as filling stations, storage, and transportation cost,
all efforts to introduce these vehicles to a larger commercial-scale may be futile.
1.1. Regulation Challenges
One example of a stringent regulation can be found in the UK: the Gas Safety (Management) Regulations (GS(M)R) of 1996. This regulation defined the specifications of the
amount of gas that can be safely transported within the existing network. The regulation
limited the hydrogen proportion to 0.1 mol%, which implied that if a higher proportion
of hydrogen was used in those pipelines it would make the pipes brittle and porous and,
therefore, the gas networks as they existed in 1996 could not be used for the transport
of hydrogen. This low hydrogen limit for the existing gas infrastructure, however, was
mainly due to historical regulations that date back to the 1974 Health and Safety at Work
Act. It appears that using this threshold of 0.1 mol% was rather random and oversimplified
the realities of hydrogen pipelining. As a matter of fact, no evidence existed if pipes truly
become brittle and porous at any level higher than 0.1 mol%. As a result of this dated
regulation, and since a higher dosage of hydrogen-mix is required to establish a safe and
commercially feasible transportation system, a separate hydrogen infrastructure would
have to be built [3]. Furthermore, filling stations would have to be connected with that new
network and draw and process this higher hydrogen mix. In order to separate hydrogen
from natural gas, the gas stations would need to use a pressure swing absorption to compress the hydrogen gas, store it, and make it available for the fueling of FCEVs. All these
specificities would add to the cost of the hydrogen infrastructure.
1.2. Infrastructure Challenges
One obstacle in advancing the use of FCEVs on a global scale is the lack of a global
infrastructure through which to distribute fuel to the end-user. While this challenge may
not be a direct result of complex policies and regulations for the technology itself, it manifests rather typical infrastructure issues. For example, according to the Hydrogen Delivery
Technical Team Roadmap for the United States, the hydrogen pipeline network in operation expands to only 1600 miles nationwide and is almost exclusively used for delivering
hydrogen to very large hydrogen clients such as chemical plants and petroleum refineries [4]. Here, a change of regulations relating to the nationwide hydrogen pipeline network
would indirectly impact a positive movement toward increasing the overall marketability
of FCEVs.
BMW expert Rücker (2020) stated that “As long as the network of refueling stations
for hydrogen-powered cars is so thin, the low demand from customers will not allow
for profitable mass production of fuel cell vehicles. And as long as there are hardly any
hydrogen cars on the roads, the operators will only hesitantly expand their refueling station
network” [5]. On the other hand, the Japanese energy group Iwatani has started to establish
a network of refueling stations. However, starting the process of establishing a network in
Japan is time-consuming and expensive. In Japan, hydrogen is classified as an industrial

Sustainability 2021, 13, 5149 3 of 12 gas, and as a result, unlike in many other countries,

refueling stations need to comply with very strict safety regulations [6] and rigorous installation requirements.

1.3. Cost Challenges
One additional barrier to the commercialization of the FCEV continues to be the high
cost of the technology itself. There is currently no lower-priced fuel cell vehicle available
on the market that can compete with electric or combustion engine vehicles because the
cost of fuel cell technology and hydrogen cylinders is still very high. However, comparing
the Toyota Mirai (a fuel cell electric vehicle) priced at USD 49,500 to a Tesla Model 3
Performance (a battery electric vehicle, BEV), which is priced at USD 52,690, the Toyota
Mirai appears to be quite competitive. This is particularly true since the driving ranges
between the two vehicles are very similar [7,8]. Nevertheless, expensive fuel cell technology
hinders the development of lower-cost models.
Nissan currently offers a battery electric vehicle for approximately USD 31,600,
and that price is significantly lower compared to the lowest-price FCEV, the Toyota Mirai,
which sells for USD 49,500. This is because the fuel cell technology used in the Toyota
Mirai, also known as proton exchange membrane cell, utilizes platinum, a very expensive
metal, in the catalyst layer of the actual cell. This platinum catalyst layer accounts for
nearly half of the fuel cell cost [9]. This makes the fuel cell stack by far the most expensive
component in a fuel cell vehicle accounting for approximately USD 11,000 [10]. Although
the cost of the platinum loading of the fuel cells was reduced significantly over the last
decade, it is still a very expensive technology and cannot yet be implemented in vehicles in
a USD 20,000 to USD 30,000 price range [11].
Table 1 below juxtapositions FCEV-related technology in Japan, the European Union,
and the United States.
Table 1. Summary of the fuel cell vehicle status

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV)

The above table displays typical products available in each of the regions. At this point,
only Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai have products in the three markets under investigation.
However, the application’s status, namely the number of vehicles sold in those markets, is
very low. Unfortunately, newer data was not available at the time of this study. Fuel costs
seem to vary tremendously between each of the regions, but in any case, they are way
above other fueling options in each of the respective regions. Even though the number of
hydrogen fueling stations is constantly increasing, there is still a lack of Hydrogen fueling
stations in all regions reviewed.

2. Discussion of Policies and Roadmaps for Hydrogen Vehicles
2.1. Hydrogen Policies for the United States
The United States is the world’s largest producer of natural gas and oil and exports
natural gas and oil to more than 35 countries. The United States has, therefore, a unique
opportunity to reinforce and grow its energy leadership position in the world and create
new jobs. As countries around the world look to hydrogen technology to reduce carbon
emissions, the competitive and ample domestic supply of hydrogen would enable the
United States to export even more fuel to markets around the world [19] (p. 3).
With hydrogen technology, low-carbon electric power resources achieve better power
grid integration. Electrolyzers that produce hydrogen can significantly increase the flexibility for intermittent renewable energy resources when connected to the grid. This flexibility
can provide long-term storage solutions that enhance and supplement the use of short-duration battery solutions. With these long-term storage solutions, hydrogen technology
may complement other energy sources such as renewable and nuclear power [19] (p. 3).
The transportation industry accounts for one-third of the carbon emissions in the
United States. Therefore, industrial FCEVs could improve the overall air quality. FCEVs
and battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) are the only zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) solutions in
passenger, commercial, and industrial vehicles. Fueling times have become compatible with
conventional gasoline or diesel vehicles, and onboard energy storage capacities increased.
Therefore, FCEVs can be considered a complement to ZEV technology and provide a
quicker transition to meet zero carbon emission standards. This makes the overall driving
and maintenance experience for owners and drivers of passenger and commercial FCEVs
similar to fueling at a regular gas station. Thus, it makes FCEVs a competitive solution
with quick refueling capacities, longer ranges, and lower vehicle maintenance as compared
to their internal combustion counterparts [19] (p. 5).
Regarding the cost of ownership, FCEVs could break even with the cost of internal
combustion engine vehicles between 2025 and 2030. Additionally, the uptime, the time
that a vehicle runs continuously without refueling, would be lower than for internal
combustion vehicles. Currently commercially available FCEV forklifts, for example, are
more competitive with their BEV counterparts with regards to higher uptimes, quicker
refueling times, and reduced maintenance costs. Therefore, FCEV technology for the
commercial sector can be a great alternative to BEVs and conventional fuel-powered
forklifts [19] (p. 5).
The current legislation and incentive programs for alternative fuel vehicles are quite
complex in the United States. The legislations vary from state to state, which adds additional complexity. The Californian legislation appears to be among the most progressive
within the USA. A discussion of each state’s legislation would exceed the framework of
this paper. The following discussion focused on current federal tax credits and incentives
provided for alternate fuel vehicles on a federal level, including FCEVs.

2.1.1. Tax Credits for the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure
The Federal Government provided a tax credit for hydrogen fueling stations installed
through 31 December 2020. This tax credit included up to 30% of the infrastructure
cost but could not exceed USD 30,000. However, permission and inspection fees were
not included in these expenses. Nevertheless, for individuals who own multiple fueling
stations and install qualified equipment at multiple sites, the tax credit could be applied to
each location [20].
2.1.2. Tax Credits for Fuel Cell Motor Vehicles
A tax credit for up to USD 8000 is available for the purchase of qualified noncommercial fuel cell vehicles. Additional tax credits are available for commercially used
vehicles, and the credit amounts are based on vehicle weight. Vehicle manufacturers must
follow Notice 2008-33 (PDF) to certify to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that a vehicle
meets certain requirements to claim the fuel cell vehicle credit [21]. This incentive originally Sustainability 2021, 13, 5149 5 of 12 expired on 31 December 2017 and was retroactively extended through 31 December 2020
by Public Law 116-94.
2.1.3. Alternative Fuel Excise Tax Credit
Liquefied hydrogen enjoys a tax incentive of USD 0.50 per gallon that is available
when used to fuel and operate an FCEV. The tax credit is based on the gasoline gallon
equivalent (GGE) or diesel gallon equivalent (DGE). This incentive originally expired on
31 December 2017 and was retroactively extended through 31 December 2020 by the Public
Law 116-94 [22].
2.1.4. Improved Energy Technology Loans
The department of energy provides loans up to 100% of the project cost to eligible
projects and programs. These projects must help reduce air pollution and carbon emissions
by early adoption of technologies like fuel-cell vehicles. These loans are not intended for
research and development projects [23].
2.1.5. US Hydrogen Roadmap
As mentioned above, these tax credits and incentives are only enacted at a federal
level, and each state may have their own policies. The United States government has
devised a hydrogen roadmap that will outline a roadmap of legal policies and initiatives
that are required to reduce carbon and NOx emissions by 16% and 36%, respectively [19].
However, tax credits and incentives provided by the Federal Government may not be
enough to propel FCEVs for the mass market. California, for example, is one of the states
that has moved beyond this roadmap and has advanced the process of implementing the
Hydrogen Highway and offers additional rebates and financing on zero-emission vehicles.
The United States does provide incentives and credits related to fuel cell vehicles (see
Table 2). The existing roadmap to make hydrogen vehicles more mainstream has been
subject to political debate. However, more work remains to be done in order to make
policies and incentives not only consistent across the Nation but also become subject to
discourse at the federal level.
Table 2. Hydrogen enablers roadmap for the United States [19].

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) 1

2.2. Hydrogen Policies for Japan
In contrast to the USA, Japan has a different set of challenges as it relies heavily on
imports of fossil fuels. Like most other industrialized countries, most of Japan’s energy
needs are dependent on imports. As currently approximately 94% of Japan’s energy needs
rely on fossil fuel to meet domestic energy demands, Japan is highly motivated to move
more quickly to hydrogen in order to decrease its fossil fuel dependency.
As a result of the 2016 Paris agreement, Japan formulated a plan to curb carbon emissions and reduce global warming. The Japanese government announced a plan to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2030 as compared to 2013. In order to achieve this ambitious goal, a mix of renewable energy, nuclear energy, and fossil fuels was proposed [24].
Japan also aims to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 [25].
The Japanese government is aggressively promoting hydrogen fuel cell cars and is
easing the legal framework to boost incentives and encouraging the use of the FCEV. Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe showed his enthusiasm for hydrogen vehicles by suggesting that all
the Japanese ministries and agencies should have fuel-cell vehicles [26]. Japan has already
the highest incentives for fuel cell cars in the world, with some areas in Japan getting
incentives of up to JPY 3 million (approximately USD 26,885 for a Toyota Mirai) that has an
actual price tag in Japan of about USD 68,000 [27].
As a leader in hydrogen technology, and since the enactment of the Paris agreement,
the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) published a strategic
roadmap for hydrogen and fuel cells. These roadmaps are used to achieve a carbon-free society.
This strategic roadmap is divided into three sections: hydrogen use in mobility,
hydrogen supply chain, and other applications for a global hydrogen society. The first two
sections explain how hydrogen fuel and vehicle costs are being lowered by implementing
specific action items detailed in the roadmap action plan.
2.2.1. Hydrogen Use in Mobility
This first key objective of the action plan aims to reduce high FCEV prices and ultimately narrowing the price gap between FCEVs and hybrid vehicles from JPY 3 million
(USD 28,310) to JPY 700,000 (USD 6605) by 2025. This objective will be achieved by transparency and cooperation between all key stakeholders such as government organizations,
automobile industries, energy and power companies. Transparency and cooperation
will facilitate more innovation in the field that could ultimately help lower the costs for the
end-user [28].
The second objective includes developing technology that helps to reduce platinum in
fuel cells. High costs of platinum catalysts used inside the hydrogen fuel cells result in a
very expensive technology that is not yet commercially very viable [28]. In order to address
this challenge, the Japanese Nisshinbo Holdings commercialized the world’s first catalyst
for fuel cells that does not require platinum in 2017. This technology has the potential to
reduce the price of fuel cell vehicles. Based on research by the U.S. Department of Energy,
a single fuel-cell vehicle requires USD 3650 in catalyst materials, which accounts for 40 to
45% of the cost of the components. The main reason for this expense is that platinum sells
for almost USD 36.35 per gram. Therefore, replacing platinum with a catalyst that costs
less than USD 0.01 per gram will dramatically reduce the fuel cell costs [29].
The third objective of Japan’s global warming prevention plan focuses on finding
ways to reduce the use of carbon fiber in hydrogen cylinders [28].
Japan’s Kawatex company developed a carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) tank
to be used for hydrogen stations [30]. This tank weighing about 1 ton is 5 to 6 times
lighter than a tank built with conventional materials that can withstand such gas pressures.
The company is also building a 60 L tank for hydrogen cars. This tank is built by wrapping
CFRP around an aluminum alloy container in order to reinforce it. This technology will
help reduce the use of carbon fiber in hydrogen tanks and hence reduce the costs for the
tanks [31].Sustainability 2021, 13, 5149 7 of 12
Japan encouraged the purchase of FCEVs to reach a total of 40,000 units by 2020.
However, at the time of the publication of this paper, only 4000 FCEV travel on Japan’s
roads. The new goal is to reach a total of 200,000 units by 2025 and a total of 800,000 units
by 2030 [32]. Nevertheless, this ambition seems to be a far reach at this point. Japan further
aimed to increase the number of hydrogen stations to 160 by 2020. Yet again, at the time
of the publication of this paper, this number has not been reached yet. The goal for FY
2025 is 320. In spite of all challenges, Japan will continue to promote regulatory reform,
technological development, and joint, strategic hydrogen station development within the
public and private sectors [33].
2.2.2. Hydrogen Supply Chain
Japan’s roadmap also includes a long-term initiative to lower hydrogen prices to a
level similar to liquefied natural gas by 2030. This goal will be achieved by building a
hydrogen supply network and initiating government-level agreements with countries rich
in hydrogen resources. The Japan–Australia brown coal to hydrogen project, for example,
will help to lower fuel costs by building a supply chain network and thus reduce costs by
transporting and storing hydrogen in bulk. This project, also known as HSEC (hydrogen
energy supply chain) project, is one of the world’s first to establish an integrated supply
chain between Australia and Japan [34]. Kawasaki Heavy Industries are currently building
the world’s first liquefied hydrogen carrier to transport liquid hydrogen from Australia
to Japan. This vessel will transport liquefied hydrogen at 1/800 of its original gas-state
volume, cooled to −253 ◦C, safely and in large quantities from Australia to Japan [35].
These and other new technologies, such as storage and transport technologies, will
increase the efficiency of hydrogen liquefaction and will scale-up liquified hydrogen storage
tanks with high insulation properties, and thus also help reduce costs for the end-user [28].
2.2.3. Other Applications of Fuel Cell Technologies
In order to achieve a hydrogen society, the Japanese government is planning to
implement fuel cell technologies for industrial and commercial use. This objective will be
attained by the commercialization of hydrogen power generation and by utilizing CO2-free
hydrogen in the future. The action plan discusses the use of stationary fuel cells that are
over 55% efficient and have a durability of 90,000 h that can be used as a power source for
existing residential housing. The current durability levels of fuel cells are rather limited.
Technologies such as stacked fuel cell technologies will help to increase the durability and
efficiency of fuel cell units. Stack fuel cells are considered more efficient and consume less
space. They achieve higher power density than current fuel cell technologies [28].
As a pioneer in hydrogen energy, Japan is working on a number of ambitious projects
to advance the hydrogen society, including the mass commercialization of fuel cell vehicles.
The transition into the mass commercialization of fuel cell vehicles will take many more
years, but based on the progress Japan has made, it is likely that those goals will be achieved.
2.3. Hydrogen Policies for the European Union
Like Japan, the European Union is committed to decarbonizing energy systems
throughout Europe in order to align with the targets defined in the Paris agreement
of 2016. The EU is planning to cut carbon emissions by 95% by 2050 [36]. To achieve these
goals, the EU requires advancing and implementing hydrogen technologies on a wider
scale, including both the commercial and private sectors [37].
In the EU, the transport sector comprises one-third of the total carbon emissions.
Decarbonizing the transport industry is, therefore, a vital step to meet the standards of the
Paris agreement [37]. In order to facilitate the use of hydrogen and the development of
this technology, a total of 25 member states of the EU signed the Hydrogen Initiative even
before the EU hydrogen roadmap was initiated.
However, at this point, Europe lacks the infrastructure to support consumer FCEV.
There are only 11 passenger car stations in the UK and about 82 in Germany [38,39]. TheseSustainability 2021, 13, 5149 8 of 12 numbers have to increase dramatically, but the infrastructure conditions at this point do
not facilitate or allow for more popularity of FCEV.
The Hydrogen Roadmap Europe Report predicts that FCEVs could account for 1
in every 22 passenger vehicles and 1 in every 15 light commercial vehicles by the year
2030 [37].
There are numerous benefits for the reduction of carbon emissions if the 2050 hydrogen
vision is implemented in the EU. This roadmap can help meet 24% of the energy demand
and reduce 15% of NOx emissions from road transport and will also reduce 560 Mt of
CO2 [37].
The EU hydrogen roadmap report published in early 2019 discusses that countries like
Japan, China, and South Korea are aggressively pursuing hydrogen technologies. These
countries made significant advances in hydrogen technology as they issued 55% of the fuel
cell patents worldwide, whereas the EU only issued 16% of the patents. This discrepancy
suggests that the EU does not have an equally strong decarbonization strategy. In response
to this deficit, the EU hydrogen roadmap report addresses to take the following overarching
steps to achieve the decarbonization goals:
1. Industry and regulators should work together to set clear, long-term objectives to
achieve the decarbonization goals across different segments. Their objectives should
not just include the end applications like zero-emission vehicles or decarbonization of
houses but include infrastructural developments necessary to support and sustain
the end applications [37].
2. In order to remain competitive and attract emerging opportunities, the EU should
invent hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. This would require alliances with fast
accelerating hydrogen technology markets outside the EU like Japan, Korea, and
China in order to reduce the market risk. They should also work with the regulators
to build a strong home market within the EU [37].
3. In the transport industry, regulators, and legislators should overcome the chicken-and-egg problem by developing a clear roadmap and policies that ensure a definite
solution by unlocking proper investment for a hydrogen infrastructure. A roadmap
with the goal of developing a basic infrastructure coverage across Europe will ensure that the automobile industries invest and scale up the development of FCEV,
which would ultimately lead to overall cost reductions and more choices for the
end-users [37].
As a response to the above roadmap, the interest in hydrogen technology increased in
2020. In July of 2020, the EU launched three key significant policy initiatives:
1. The EU Hydrogen Strategy established initial targets for the deployment of hydrogen,
which will require up to EUR 470 bn by 2050.
2. The European Clean Hydrogen Alliance (ECHA), a government body, works with the
leadership of energy giants like Shell, Siemens, Électricité De France (EDF), and Vattenfall, which comprise the ECHA.
3. A large clean technology innovation fund was set up with EUR 1 bn a year that
focuses on investments in hydrogen energy.
There are still additional policy details that need further work, but the Hydrogen
Strategy targets represented how the European Union’s hydrogen roadmap impacted the
significance of hydrogen energy and the European Union’s mission for a carbon-free future.
As the European Union is gaining momentum towards building a zero-carbon society,
more investments are encouraged to expand the fueling infrastructure. Aiming to address
these challenges, Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) co-founded a number
of projects, including:
HyFIVE, a European project including 15 partners who deploy 110 FCEVs from the
five global automotive companies, who are leading in their commercialization efforts
(BMW, Daimler, HONDA, Hyundai, and Toyota).Sustainability 2021, 13, 5149 9 of 12
H2ME, a project to increase hydrogen mobility with the intent to expand and develop
networks of Hydrogen Refueling Stations (HRS) and the fleets of FCEVs, operating on
Europe’s roads, in order to significantly expand activities in each country and start the
creation of a pan-European hydrogen fueling station network.
H2ME2 addresses innovations required to prepare the hydrogen mobility sector for the
mass market. The project will perform a large-scale market test of the hydrogen refueling
infrastructure; passenger and commercial FCEVs operated in real-world customer applications and demonstrated the system benefits generated by using electrolytic hydrogen
solutions in grid operations.
These projects are only a selection of a larger number of initiatives that have added
55 fueling stations across 10 countries in the European Union and have introduced approximately 1600 FCEV on European roads [40].
Lastly, in order to reduce the cost of expensive carbon fiber hydrogen tanks used in
FCEV, new and more efficient manufacturing techniques need to be implemented using
carbon composite materials that reduce the costs to make them more commercially viable.
Project COPERNIC (COst & PERformaNces Improvement for Cgh2 composite tanks), in
collaboration with FCH JU developed a novel carbon-fiber composite tank, which can be
built using an automated manufacturing process. These tanks are safer as they implement a
novel on-tank valve and real-time monitoring of hydrogen pressure and potential leakages
using sensors and optical fibers. This project has helped to lower the cost of a hydrogen
tank by EUR 12,000, which represents an 80% reduction in previous costs. As the costs of
hydrogen fuel tanks continue to decrease, more FCEVs are likely to come to the market [40].
Table 3 provides a summary and policy review across the three markets discussed [31].
The table displays each regions’ national strategy, each regions’ hydrogen production and
distribution plan, the development plans for the infrastructure development within each
region, and the existing or planned incentives and support for passenger and commercial
vehicles in each region.
Table 3. Summary of Policy Review [31].

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) 2
3. Conclusions
In this paper, the researchers identified a number of initiatives and policies that
attempt to make our air cleaner by reducing the carbon footprint on our planet. Most of
these initiatives have as their main objective the reduction of carbon dependency and the
enhancement of newer and better technologies in the near future. Some of these policies
address fuel cell technology, and specifically fuel cell technology for the automotive sector.
The researchers proposed that fuel cell technology has a great potential to compete with its
electric or hybrid counterparts in worldwide efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
Three major industrial regions were under investigation: Japan, the European Union,
and the United States. Policies tend to overlap to some degree in the different regions but
also display some unique challenges based on cultural, political, and societal differences.
However, all three regions spent sufficient time and resources to now engage in the
betterment of fuel cell technologies on a global scale. The new policies attempt to reduce
cost and certainly engage in an increased infrastructure for these technologies, which are
considered two of the most predominant obstacles. Even though the three regions were
developed through strategic plans actively transforming those into practice for a wider
market are still at very different levels, depending on other competing technologies and
their local preferences. As was noted, the competition between EVs, FCEVs, and hybrid
vehicles continues to be fierce, and it appears that FCEVs still need to be promoted more
in some regions to engage a broader portion of the population in the acceptance of this
technology.
Further research should be conducted to find ways to make FCEVs even more competitive, more affordable, and, thus, more popular. Additional research could be included
to enhance the use of smart cars, as smart car technology can further decrease worldwide
carbon emissions. The development and integration of smart cars, connected cities, and the
internet of things may play a major role in providing a stronger legal foundation for FCEVs.
Research areas related to this particular integration may open new doors for advanced sustainability 2021, 13, 5149 11 of 12 FCEV technologies and such provide opportunities for additional governmental initiatives
and funding.
Nevertheless, the researchers are optimistic and hopeful that FCEV technologies will
become more competitive and affordable in the near future as some of the excessive costs
have the potential to be reduced, and some public transportation systems around the world
already started to implement FCEV technologies in their public transportation systems.
Author Contributions: Conceptualization, U.A. 60%, K.S. 40%; methodology, U.A. 60%, K.S. 40%;
validation, U.A. 60%, K.S. 40%; formal analysis, U.A. 60%, K.S. 40%; investigation, U.A. 60%, K.S.
40%; resources, U.A. 60%, K.S. 40%; data curation, U.A. 60%, K.S. 40%; writing—original draft
preparation, U.A. 60%, K.S. 40%; writing—review and editing, U.A. 40%, K.S. 60%; visualization,
U.A. 60%, K.S. 40%; supervision, U.A. 40%, K.S. 60%; project administration, U.A. 40%, K.S. 60%.
All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.
Funding: This research received no external funding.
Institutional Review Board Statement: Not applicable.
Informed Consent Statement: Not applicable.
Data Availability Statement: Data sharing not applicable.
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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Department of Technology, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790, USA; [email protected]
* Correspondence: [email protected]


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