The big hydrogen bet — your chance to get in on the action

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:

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

  • 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?