Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) - Lifespan
Data or metrics to calculate the average life span of a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) from first registration until being permanently scrapped or de-registered is not available in the public domain. The majority of press coverage and research surrounds the life span of a fuel cell stack in an FCEV rather than the whole car, as well as the life cycle costs of using this type of electric vehicle.
- According to the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CAFCP), a fuel cell stack in an FCEV is designed to have a lifespan of about 150,000–200,000 miles before it is permanently scrapped.
- The fact that Toyota offers an 8-year warranty/100,000-mile FCEV warranty on key fuel cell vehicle components for Toyota Mirai means that the company believes its average life span goes beyond the 8-year mark.
- Research indicates that the average life cycle cost of operating a fuel cell electric vehicle was about $0.42/mile in 2017, and is expected to fall to 0.33/mile in 2020, $0.19/mile in 2035, and $0.18/mile by 2050.
- Researchers, Anna Creti, Alena Kotelnikova, Guy Meunier, and Jean-Pierre Ponssard, estimate that hydrogen refueling stations for fueling FCEV's "have 10 years lifetime up to 2020 included, and 15 years lifetime afterward."
- According to Statista Research Department, about 16,744 fuel cell vehicle units were sold globally in 2018.
The research team searched through credible media sites and market research databases such as the Global Market Insights, Allied Market Research, Market Watch, PR Newswire, and more for data on the average life span of a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV). These databases present statistics, including the market size of FCEV's, their segmentation by distance (long/short), key players in the market, and more, but because they are paywalled, efforts to explore them in detail was futile. Also, the majority of press coverage surrounds the life span of a fuel cell stack in an FCEV rather than the whole car, as well as the life cycle costs of using this type of electric vehicle.
The "average vehicle age (lifetime)" is a useful indicator of the status of a fleet. Therefore, the team searched for the formula that is used to determine it and then purposed to utilize the statistic as a benchmark for calculating the average lifetime of an FCEV. According to the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF), the sum of the ages of all vehicles in a fleet (preferably in months) is divided by the number of vehicles in that fleet (and the result expressed in years) to estimate the average life span.
Average vehicle lifetime (expressed in years) = the sum of the ages of all vehicles in a fleet (preferably in months) / the number of vehicles in that fleet
The team searched for a list of FCEV models, such as the Hyundai ix35 FCEV, Mercedes-Benz F-Cell, Toyota Mirai, etc., produced by EV manufacturers. We aimed to find the different ages of ten FCEV models (forming a fleet) and divide by the number of vehicles in that fleet (in this case,10). However, locating the lifespan of these models proved difficult because the automakers do not discuss the average lifetime of the whole car, as they do with their fuel cell stacks. For example, Toyota offers an 8-year warranty/100,000-mile "FCEV warranty on key fuel cell vehicle components," including: fuel cell air compressor, fuel cell boost converter, fuel cell ECU, fuel cell hydrogen tanks, fuel cell power control unit (PCU), fuel cell stack, and more, but does not state the car's average age in years. The other reason why determining this statistic is difficult is because "an acceptable average age depends on factors such as the types of vehicles operated, levels of utilization and operating conditions, and is sometimes influenced by legislation."
As a last resort, we employed the following approach to determine the average life span that a fuel cell electric vehicle remains on the road from first registration until being permanently scrapped. This approach included finding how long conventional vehicles are kept on the road, in average times (years), by their owners before they are brought to a scrap yard or taken out of service and equating it to the miles covered at scrappage. Next, using the miles covered at the point an FCEV is permanently scrapped, we would calculate the average lifespan in years.
Average FCEV lifetime (expressed in years) = (The average age of a typical passenger car * the miles covered at the point an FCEV is scrapped)/ the miles covered by a typical passenger car at the point it is scrapped
After thoroughly searching through industry-related databases, media publications, and academic sources, we located the average age of a car at scrappage in 2015, the most recent year available, but we hit a dead end with this approach when we could not find an article discussing the miles covered by a conventional car or an FCEV at the time its put out of service.