Sales of hydrogen-powered fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are so low that BloombergNEF says it cannot make any long-term projections after their future, the research house says in a new report.

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FCEVs represented just 0.02% of global passenger vehicle sales last year, with 15,391 units sold — compared to 10.5 million battery electric vehicles, according to BNEF’s new Electric Vehicle Outlook.

“We are not able to make a long-term outlook for passenger FCVs while sales are so low, show limited momentum, and are highly concentrated in a few markets and models.”

Sales of passenger FCEVs fell globally last year compared to 2021, with a huge fall in Japan — from 2,440 vehicles to just 844 in 2022.

Only two FCEV cars are in serial production today — Toyota’s Mirai and Hyundai’s Nexo — but more models are due to be released in the coming years, with Honda due to make small volumes of a new hydrogen model of its CR-V in the US from 2024, and BMW’s CEO predicting that FCEVs will become “the hippest thing to drive”.

Toyota is also bringing out a hydrogen version of its Crown sedan in Japan only this autumn.

Aside from a few bullish automakers, most researchers and experts believe it is unlikely that hydrogen cars will ever enter the mainstream, mainly because they will be more expensive to buy, maintain and run than battery EVs, with their only upsides being the shorter charging time and potentially longer ranges

This is partly why hydrogen trucks and buses are widely believed to have a brighter future, especially in use cases requiring short charging times and long distances.

The cost of hydrogen trucks is due to decline this decade “but uncertainty on their trajectory is high”, says the BNEF report.