Fuel cell vehicles speed up in China as pure EVs show signs of slowing down

The overall fuel cell vehicle market is still tiny.

Production and sales of fuel cell vehicles have both gained momentum in China against the country’s declining auto market.

A total of 553 fuel cell vehicles were produced in the first five months of this year, up 476% year-on-year, in contrast with a 13% decrease in the country’s entire auto production, which came to 10.2 million units, according to data from China’s Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

545 fuel cell vehicles were sold, up 479.8% year-on-year, while the country’s auto sales also decreased 13% to reach 10.3 million units .

Most fuel cell vehicles were made and sold in May. 316 such vehicles were produced in this month and 315 units were sold.

Although the growth is rapid, the actual size of the fuel cell vehicle market is still much smaller compared to that of other new energy vehicles.

A total of 380,000 pure electric vehicles were produced in the first five months, up 52% year-on-year while 464,000 such vehicles were sold, up 44.1%. However, in May, 94,000 pure EVs were produced, up 21.7% year-on-year, while 83,000 such cars were sold, up only 1.4%.

Wan Gang, former science and technology minister of China, said in an interview with Bloomberg that hydrogen fuel cell cars are the future for the country’s auto sector. He is called the “father” of China’s electric car movement and convinced the country’s leaders two decades ago to shift to vehicle electrification, said Bloomberg.

In March, the Premier of China’s State Council, Li Keqiang, stated in his work report that boosting the construction of hydrogen refueling facilities at a national scale is key to the country’s development. It was the first time that the Chinese government identified the sector as holding national importance.

A Shanghai official revealed earlier this month that the city planned to build 510 hydrogen refueling stations by 2020, after SAIC Motor, one of China’s leading automakers, opened “the world’s largest” hydrogen refueling station in the city last week.

Contact the writer at [email protected]