Fleet News

Battery power's future looks flat

THE future for battery-powered electric vehicles is bleak with cell-powered cars set to be on the road in five years, says a new report by The Economist Intelligence Unit. It says that Mercedes-Benz plans to launch a fuel cell powered electric vehicle by 2004 are at least five years earlier than previously predicted.

'There is now a finite horizon for the change to non-combustion power sources for passenger cars and it is much sooner than previously thought, with the fuel cell as the most prominent alternative,' says the 1999 edition of 'New Generation Engines'.

The report says intensive design and development work over the past five years has yielded dramatic reductions in the price of fuel cells. It adds: 'The future for battery-powered electric vehicles now seems bleak. As a result of the advance in fuel cell technology, the EIU detects that research teams are already scaling down their work on batteries. Because of the advances in fuel cell technology, the 'window of commercial opportunity' for hybrid electric vehicles is already reported to be shrinking. The EIU believes methanol will be the fuel for cell-powered vehicles.

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