Treehugger reports on a public bet I have made with Greg Blencoe, CEO of Hydrogen Discoveries:

Greg Blencoe wins if hydrogen fuel cell vehicles hit 1% of new sales of the typically-defined car and light truck market in the U.S. during 2015 or any year before. Joseph Romm wins if it is 2016 or any year after.

At stake is $1000, plus a certain amount of pride (if I lose, I must be photographed wearing a t-shirt saying “I was wrong about hydrogen.”)

I am certainly prepared to make that bet with pretty much anyone — though I might have to reconsider in the (very) unlikely event I get too many takers. Reasons why you shouldn’t take the bet are below:

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It took 8 years from the first introduction of hybrids for them to hit 1% of the new vehicle market. And they have many positive attributes:

  • They can be fueled at 180,000 gasoline stations.
  • They have up to double the range of a typical vehicle, and
  • In many cases the extra cost is paid back in a few years from fuel savings.

2015 is 8 years from now — we still don’t have a single commercial fuel cell vehicle for sale. And whenever they do go on sale, they will no doubt

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  • be fuelable at under 1% of the filling stations
  • have a shorter range than a typical gasoline vehicle, and
  • have a big first-cost penalty that will never be paid back (since the annual fuel bill will probably be higher).

Hard to see how they gain market share faster than hybrids.

Any takers?

This post was created for, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.