As automakers struggle to find a niche for the next generation of electric cars, they are moving away from conventional gasoline engines.
But with the market still relatively small, some manufacturers are looking to plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles for the future.
That could mean the next fuel cell car will be powered by the same basic technology as a conventional gasoline engine.
It’s a big shift from gasoline cars, which have been in use since the mid-19th century.
As automakers continue to embrace hybrids and electric cars for the sake of environmental and economic reasons, they’re increasingly looking at plug-ins for the fuel cell.
“The electric vehicle market has never been so saturated,” said Joe Kallos, a spokesman for GM.
While the market for plug-In hybrids has more than doubled since 2010, plug-Ins have been far less popular with gasoline car buyers than the other vehicles in the fuel-cell segment, Kallous said.
The number of plug- In hybrid and plug- in electric vehicles in use worldwide is more than 60 billion, according to the IHS Automotive.
And the number of fuel-cells-powered cars has been growing, with more than 400 million sold in the U.S. last year.
Toyota announced last year that it was building an all-electric version of the Prius plug-and-play hybrid, the Highlander.
Electric vehicles have been more popular than gas cars in the past few years, with demand for electric cars outpacing the increase in the number and size of gas cars, according the IMS Automotive and other automakers.
A study by the UBS Global Research Group found that the average gas-powered car had a fuel cell in it in 2011, but the number has been increasing in recent years.
With electric vehicles now becoming the norm in the United States, it’s easy to see why they have taken off in recent months, according Toomas.
In the U, fuel cell electric cars are now sold in more than 200 cities.
But the electric vehicles have only been available in some of the big cities for a short period of time, such as in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
GM is currently testing its new hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle, the Volt, in a few cities.
In Europe, fuel cells have been tested on a number of new electric cars.
That’s led to some criticism from some electric car owners, however, who say that the vehicles aren’t really safe for daily driving, especially with such a low operating range and fuel economy.
Fuel cells don’t require a tank of gas to charge, which means they can be used on the highway, as long as they don’t burn up the road, and there are no leaks, said Toomas, who is also president of the European Plug-In Hybrid Association.
However, the manufacturers have defended their vehicles.
There’s a certain level of safety, and the hydrogen is completely safe, said Brian Gaffney, president of GM and former CEO of the Electric Vehicle Association of America.
Some automakers, such the Toyota Prius, have also been pushing plug-innovations.
After the Volt is launched in Europe this year, Toyota will start shipping fuel cells in California, where there’s a lot of demand, Korn said.
But he said that the Volt and its gasoline-powered cousin, the Prix, aren’t being tested in Europe, because there isn’t enough demand.
One of the reasons fuel cell-powered vehicles have seen a boom in recent times is the advent of electric charging stations, said Tom Schatz, a professor of transportation engineering at Stanford University.
ChargePoint has more electric charging points than any other electric vehicle charging station, according its website.
For now, plug in hybrid and fuel cell hybrid vehicles are a niche, with fuel cell engines not catching on as quickly as gas-electric vehicles, Karmos said.