COVID-19 impact on fuel cell powertrain market

Fuel Cell Powertrain Market

The global Fuel Cell Powertrain Market size is projected to grow from USD  268 million in 2020 to USD 3,797 million by 2025, at a CAGR of 70.0%. Increasing government initiatives for the development of hydrogen infrastructure and rapid technological changes in the automotive industry for fuel efficient systems are likely to boost the fuel cell powertrain market.

The fuel cell powertrain market is highly influenced by the sale of FCEVs and infrastructure for hydrogen stations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, major economies are facing a dire situation. Lockdowns have adversely impacted business operations and surged unemployment rates. Sales figures of the overall vehicle segment are expected to remain low even after the lockdowns are lifted. The unprecedented impact of COVID-19 and subsequent weaker demand for vehicles will be a major concern for fuel cell component manufacturers. OEMs are expected to resume production with lower capacity utilization and will adjust production according to demand. Lower vehicle production would lead to lesser demand for fuel cell powertrains. Hence, the growth of fuel cell powertrains would be adversely impacted, although the sales will rise subsequently. Major component providers such as Bosch, Denso, Continental, and Panasonic have restricted investments in new and innovative systems. Hence, the growth of fuel cell powertrains is expected to be low in 2020 and 2021

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Major fuel cell powertrain manufacturers such as Bosch, Continental, Panasonic, Denso, and Delphi have announced either suspensions or adjustments of production due to the reduced demand, supply chain bottlenecks, and to ensure the safety of their employees in China, Europe, and North America during the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, Continental halted its operations in more than 40% of its 249 production locations across the world as of April 2020. Manufacturers are likely to adjust production to prevent bottlenecks and plan production according to demand from OEMs and Tier I manufacturers. Thus, the market for fuel cell powertrain is projected to undergo a phase of decline in terms of sales in 2020.

The fuel cell powertrain market players are focusing on expanding their businesses in new markets across the world. Asia Oceania is one of the potential markets for fuel cell powertrainsIn this region, Japan, China, and South Korea play a key role in the development of hydrogen stations. Many initiatives are underway in these countries for the development of a robust HRS network. For instance, 5–10 hydrogen stations are planned in China in 2020. South Korea targets the number of hydrogen filling stations to reach 1,200 by 2040. On the other hand, Japan has been consistent in the development of HRS and announced the development of 80 HRS by 2021, through collaborative efforts by the Japanese government and Japan H2 Mobility (JHyM). Toyota, Nissan, and Honda have also formed a joint venture with major gas and energy firms to build 80 new hydrogen stations in the next four years to add to the existing operational HRS in Japan.

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In Europe, there  has been  targets set for reduction of CO2 emission by 80% by 2050.  This has created a roadmap for the region under which the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) was established in 2008 and was carried out till 2013 as the first public-private partnership under the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan). The continuation and further strengthening of the program is projected to be the key driver for fuel cell powertrain market in Europe.

Even though European companies lag behind their Asian counterparts in fuel cell technology development and patents, Europe is slowly shifting its focus towards renewable sources of energy. The EU2020 focuses on improving the demand for fuel cells by improving the infrastructure and decreasing the cost of fuel cells. Germany represents around 75% of all European demonstration activities due to the presence of a number of small and large companies such as Siemens Westinghouse, Heliocentris, and SFC Energy.

Key Market Players

The global fuel cell powertrain market is dominated by major players such as Ballard Power Systems (Canada), Cummins Inc. (US), Denso Corporation (Japan), Robert Bosch GmbH (Germany), and FEV (Germany). These companies offer a wide variety of automotive motors fulfilling all major functions in a vehicle. The key strategies adopted by these companies to sustain their market position are new product developments, expansions, mergers &acquisitions, and partnerships & collaboration.

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