When you’re feeling a little left behind by the competition what do you do? You announce an aggressive plan to play catch up. This is what it seems that Opel/Vauxhall is doing in the fuel cell vehicle market.
Opel has announced that they intend to bring a premium, luxury hydrogen fuel cell vehicle to market by the 2016 or 2017 time-frame, which is one to two years later than the Big 6 automakers have announced they will be bringing their FCV’s (fuel cell vehicles) to market.
According to Opel they intend to sell around 20,000 of the code named TOL (top-of-the-line) fuel cell crossover vehicles (between SUV and station wagon) starting in the years already mentioned.
According to Auto News, “Franz said unions will press for the auto to be built in Germany. ‘The workers representatives will support this project to the fullest. A flagship like this can only be built on the Epsilon 2 architecture with long wheelbase. We will do everything to build this auto at our headquarters in Ruesselsheim, rather than Mexico or elsewhere,’ he said.”
It makes sense that the TOL Opels would be built in Germany. Opel was founded in Rüsselsheim, Germany in 1862 and the world headquarters remains there today. General Motors is the Parent company for Opel and also plans to rollout a significant amount of FCV’s by 2015 in Germany where the most robust hydrogen refueling infrastructure in the world will be located.
Opel is just the latest auto company to realize that they had better get on the hydrogen vehicle bandwagon otherwise come game time they will be left in the dust.