Analysis: U.S. Government Must Promote Fuel-Cell Technology More Aggressively To Compete Globally

Compiled By Deborah Austin U.S. government must become more aggressive about fuel-cell concerns if U.S. industry players are to compete globally, says Atakan Ozbek, director of energy research for technology research think tank Allied Business Intelligence (ABI), Oyster Bay, N.Y. Fuel-cell technology support in the European Union and Japan is increasing, reports new ABI study "Automotive Fuel Cells: Global Market Issues, Technology Dynamics and Major Players." By 2012, the number of fuel-cell vehicles worldwide could reach 800,000, forecasts ABI. By next year, Japanese automakers Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. are expected to release fuel-cell-powered vehicles in the U.S. and Japan. DaimlerChrysler AG will introduce fuel cell buses in some European cities, says Ozbek. U.S.-based General Motors has become more aggressive about such technology, he says, but added that the federal government must provide catalysts for infrastructure, incentives and standards frameworks. "If the private sector players can't see clearly what's down the road, they won't be willing to put in much money," Ozbek notes.

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