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Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Technologies in the Media Spotlight

August 19, 2013

Automakers have made steady progress reducing the cost and increasing the performance of fuel cell propulsion systems, and most major vehicle manufacturers are geared to launch fuel cell electric vehicles in the U.S. market between 2015 and 2020. A recent Denver Post article highlights the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s contribution to the progress that automakers have made in getting their fuel cell electric vehicles ready for production.

"When I started working on fuel cells in the '90s, people said it was a good field because a solution would always be five years away," said Brian Pivovar, who leads NREL's fuel cell research. "Not anymore."

The article references a variety of NREL’s hydrogen and fuel cell research areas and industry partnerships that focus on further reducing the cost and increasing the durability of fuel cells.

"The key to getting to huge sales is cutting costs, and the key to cutting costs is reducing the amount of platinum. Ten years ago, there was as much as 80 grams of the expensive platinum in a fuel cell; now, it is down to 20 grams,” he added “The cost of a fuel cell in 2002 was $275 a kilowatt; 10 years later, it was down to (a projected large-volume production cost of) $47, with a goal to get to $30 a kilowatt.”

—Julia Thomas