The Obama Administration, in its 2010 budget proposal, seems to have lost faith in hydrogen fuel cell technology. The latest budget knocks out over $100 million in funding for hydrogen research, leaving only $68 million that’s earmarked specifically for fuel cells. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, in explaining the cuts, has said that they do not feel that hydrogen is going to be practical anytime soon. “We asked ourselves, ‘Is it likely in the next 10 or 15, 20 years that we will convert to a hydrogen car economy?’ The answer, we felt, was ‘no.'” The main issue was over the likelihood of developing of producing and more importantly, distributing hydrogen efficiently anytime in the near future.
Some of the car companies, including GM, Honda and Toyota, have invested heavily in hydrogen cars. Honda is in the middle of conducting tests of its FCX Clarity, and GM had a fleet of over 100 hydrogen powered Chevrolet Equinoxes on the road. The car companies have been working on developing the technology for the cars themselves, but without a widespread and robust distribution network for hydrogen, there would be nowhere for these cars to go.