A lot of very serious people are questioning the market potential of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles because of the lack of hydrogen infrastructure assets in the United States. In fact, the majority of these very learned people would give up before most communities even get started. However, this is not an option for those tasked with supporting sustainability because “peak oil” is the greatest strategic uncertainty facing businesses.
You and your peers may want to look at “Local Motors” as a model for success given the challenges ahead for those engaged in hydrogen convergence. In case you are unfamiliar with Local Motors, it is “the world’s first open-source community of car designers and fabricators.” And the Local Motors model could fix the “chicken or the egg” dinosaur attack by creating a mechanism for eventually developing hydrogen cars.
Before all the social media channels blow their gaskets and the internet melts down, the first step to implementing this strategy doesn’t entail designing a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. The reason is because of the cost of platinum-based fuel cells. The first step is to use the innovation infrastructure that Local Motors already assembled to design low cost hydrogen infrastructure like hydrogen stations.
Creating open source hydrogen stations will mean that community colleges around the country can produce the infrastructure necessary to retrofit local gas stations. This will speed deployment of mass produced hydrogen cars from the major automakers. And third-party vendor networks will grow up to support these new vehicles if the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle market is anything like the traditional automobile market.
Once the number of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles reaches critical mass, the hydrogen convergence process will come full circle for members of the Local Motors community. Third-party vendors will drive down the cost of replacement hydrogen fuel cells that can be used in vehicles designed by the Local Motors community. Local Motors community members will then be able to make a name for themselves as hydrogen car designers.