Automobiles powered by AFCC fuel cell technology were first introduced in 1994 with the introduction of Daimler’s NECAR (New Electric Car). With room only for a driver, the fuel-cell system and the accompanying hydrogen tanks, the vehicle was impractical. Two years later, Daimler rolled out the NECar 2 where the fuel cells were smaller and more powerful allowing the van to seat six people.
Since the 1990’s, Daimler and Ford have placed over 280 vehicles worldwide powered by AFCC technology, accumulating over 12 million kilometres. With each generation of technology, AFCC has reduced costs, improved efficiency, durability, performance, and enabled the vehicles to operate in sub-zero temperatures.
The fuel cell was first demonstrated by Sir William Grove in 1839 however it was not applied until its use on NASA’s Gemini and Apollo spacecraft in the 1960s and 1970s.
We have made great strides in reducing fuel cell stack costs, increasing durability and decreasing the size of the fuel cell stack so it can be easily positioned under the hood or in the floorboard of the vehicle.
With early commercialization of fuel cell vehicles projected in the 2017 timeframe, AFCC’s focus is on reducing costs, improving durability and preparing for the economies of scale found in mass production. AFCC has a clear path of achieving cost parity with incumbent technology through: