Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2004 (Revised March 2004)

Fuel Cells: The Hydrogen Revolution?

by Thomas R. Eisenmann and Ryland Matthew Willis

Abstract

The challenges faced in establishing hydrogen fuel cell-powered transportation in the United States, which promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on imported oil is examined. Foremost among these challenges is a "chicken-and-egg" dynamic: consumers will not buy hydrogen-fueled vehicles until a nationwide network of hydrogen refueling stations is available, and such a network will not be supplied without a critical mass of vehicles. Explores efforts of the George W. Bush administration and the U.S. Department of Energy in developing hydrogen fuel cell technology and infrastructure and in overcoming the chicken-and-egg dynamic. Also covers industrial policy and tax regimes in the United States, Japan, and the European Union and the efforts of automobile manufacturers to develop environmentally friendly transportation.

Keywords: Taxation; Environmental Sustainability; Infrastructure; Government Administration; Energy Sources; Business and Government Relations; Network Effects; Transportation; Green Technology Industry; Energy Industry; European Union; Japan; United States;

Citation:

Eisenmann, Thomas R., and Ryland Matthew Willis. "Fuel Cells: The Hydrogen Revolution?" Harvard Business School Case 804-144, February 2004. (Revised March 2004.)