Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle performance and user-response assessment: Results of an extended driver study


This study examined driver acceptance and performance of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles as tested in real-world conditions over a two-year period. The study sample was a volunteer group of “n = 54” drivers who drove the vehicle for a month-long trial period. Each driver took ‘before’ and ‘after’ surveys regarding their driving experience. Drivers drove an average of 1400 miles per month, and either witnessed and/or performed vehicle refueling 3–10 times during their test period.

Key findings from the study include that: 1) 80% of study participant drivers found that the fuel cell vehicle (FCV) performance “exceeded” or “greatly exceeded” their expectations; 2) 98% of study participant drivers view hydrogen as a fuel for vehicles as being “as safe” or “safer” than gasoline as a fuel for vehicles; and 3) 94% of participants view the process of fueling a vehicle with hydrogen to be “as safe” or “safer” than gasoline fueling. Other findings include that 85% of study participants who performed their own fueling described hydrogen fueling to be “somewhat” or “very” simple. Of the participants, 62% percent had to forgo at least one trip due to lack of hydrogen fuel, although vehicle range was rated by 75% of participants as entirely or mostly adequate. If fueling infrastructure availability was not an issue, and fuel cost per-mile was at parity with gasoline, 75% of participants would be willing to pay $40,000 or less for an FCV.

Timothy Lipman, PhD
Matthew Elke
Jeffrey Lidicker
Publication date: 
July 5, 2018
Publication type: 
Journal Article