Though it remains heavily vested in EVs, Ford has also made it quite clear that fully electric power isn’t quite feasible for larger trucks at the moment. Instead, the automaker is exploring the idea of hydrogen power via not only one, but two different pilot programs, which are centered around hydrogen fuel cell-powered Transit and F-550 models. While even the Ford Super Duty may go hydrogen before all-electric, the automaker has noted that these types of products will remain a bit of a niche – for now – with third-party companies already providing the powertrains for select commercial customers. Regardless, Ford’s investment in hydrogen power may pay off big time at some point in the future in spite of its obvious challenges, according to a new report from Automotive News.
Just last week, the U.S. Treasury revealed proposed guidance on hydrogen production tax credits that is far more limiting than expected – with strict rules outlining what types of hydrogen production would qualify for such a credit. As a result, cheap hydrogen and the type used to produce green steel was largely left out of the equation, but analysts still remain bullish on vehicles powered by this type of fuel.
Even without “the full $3 credit, you still can be somewhat in the money,” said Jeff Osborne, a mobility technology analyst at TD Cowen, an investment bank. For example, in the long-term trucking industry, the lighter, more energy dense fuel with far quicker refueling times compared to EVs makes perfect sense at a current cost of anywhere between $4 to $7 per kilogram, when we factor in these potential government incentives.
While there are still many uncertainties as to the future and viability of hydrogen vehicles, the combined dollar value of deals involving this technology increased from $973.8 million to $1.43 billion between 2022 and 2023, signaling strong demand. However, currently, there are only 58 publicly available hydrogen fuel stations in the U.S. – 57 of which are in California – which means there’s a lot of risk involved with these types of investments, even as promising as they may seem.