Coronavirus Seems to Kill GM’s Hydrogen Ambitions

Maybe the military will still be able to get one, but the cash-consuming coronavirus pandemic appears to have nixed any chance that a normal consumer will be able to slide into a fuel cell-powered General Motors vehicle anytime soon.

Good news for Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai?

Or maybe worthy of a big, fat yawn from our readers? Who friggin’ cares, you might be thinking — GM’s been chasing this unviable technology for years!

Indeed they have, going back the 2000s, and financial constraints have now caught up to the stubbornly latent technology. Or perhaps GM just recognizes the pointlessness of pouring resources into a technology that, two decades later, is still only usable for those living near two U.S. cities?

In the automaker’s annual sustainability report, GM resolved to hold the course on its electrified future, but those consumer-bound electric motors will source their juice from big, big batteries — not mini, onboard powerplants.

As reported by CNBC‘s Michael Wayland, GM Chief Sustainability Officer Dane Parker admitted the change during a media call.

“We saw the importance of prioritizing our resources, particularly in the U.S. market to electric passenger vehicles,” Parker said, adding that the company’s green focus would henceforth be split between civilian and military/commercial customers.

Originally, GM planned to launch 20 EVs by 2023, one of which would be a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. While GM still plans to foist electric vehicles on retail consumers en masse, underpinned by a new modular architecture and powered by in-house Ultium batteries, the company’s hydrogen team will now focus solely on military and commercial buyers. You’ll recall that GM Defense began rustling up interesting Chevrolet truck variants not too long ago.

That leaves players like Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai to continue carrying the hydrogen torch in the American retail market. BMW and Mercedes-Benz remain interested in the technology’s consumer applications, too. The average buyer, of course, might not be.

a version of this post first appeared on TTAC

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