Sales of hydrogen fuel cell cars, an alternative zero-emission solution to battery-electric cars, remain low without much chance for significant growth.

According to the California Fuel Cell Partnership's data, during the third quarter of 2022, only 153 hydrogen fuel cell cars (aka FCV or FCEV) were sold in the US, which is 82% less than a year ago.

The California Fuel Cell Partnership's FCVs sales data comes from Baum and Associates. "Sales data is based on car sales sold by a dealer to a retail or fleet customer".

That's a pretty weak result, even for FCVs, which from time to time were even able to reach 1,000 units per quarter (in Q1 2021 and Q1 2022).

Comparing those results to all-electric cars only adds to our skepticism related to FCVs, which have a variety of issues (price of the car, overall energy efficiency, and lack of refueling infrastructure to name the three major ones, plus the limited number of models and limited geographical availability - basically only California).

If we combine the overall results with the numbers reported by the manufacturers (Toyota and Hyundai ), then it turns out that only two models were actively sold - the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai NEXO.

Sales in Q3 2022 (Mirai and NEXO sales as reported by the manufacturers):

  • Toyota Mirai - 79 (down 88%)
  • Hyundai NEXO - 74 (down 50%)
  • other models - 0 (down 100%)
  • Total: 153 (down 82%)

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle sales in the US - Q3 2022

So far this year, almost 2,000 hydrogen fuel cell cars were sold in the US, which is 28% less than a year ago.

Sales YTD (Mirai and NEXO sales as reported by the manufacturers):

  • Toyota Mirai - 1,437 (down 37%)
  • Hyundai NEXO - 345 (up 22%)
  • other models - 205 (up 6%)
  • Total: 1,987 (down 28%)

For reference, in 12 months of 2021, some 3,341 new FCVs were sold - this record probably will not be exceeded in 2022.

The Toyota Mirai is the best-selling FCV model and also is the only one that crossed 10,000+ units delivered cumulatively (since Q4 2015).

The overall cumulative number of FCVs is over 14,000, which gives Toyota about 75% market share.

Refueling infrastructure

As of October 3, 2022, the number of open retail hydrogen stations in California stood at 57, which is 7 more than at the beginning of the year. 9 new stations are under construction. See the full list of hydrogen infrastructure here.

A quick calculation reveals that there are 250 cars per single station (cumulative sales divided by the number of stations). Although, it might be much less if some of the early cars have been removed from service.

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