Support for fuel cell technology in the European Union and Japan has been increasing, according to a new study by Allied Business Intelligence (ABI). Japan automakers Toyota and Honda are expected to be releasing fuel cell powered vehicles in late 2002 or early 2003.Oyster Bay, New York – November 7, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] These vehicles will be available in the US and Japanese market. ABI said the U.S. needs to renew a leadership role in the field of Fuel Cell technology. “The US will have to aggressively execute a strategy toward solving technological challenges and infrastructure layouts to help early fuel cell vehicle introduction in the second half of this decade,” said Atakan Ozbek, Director of Energy Research for ABI. The number of fuel cell vehicles introduced in the world in the coming decade will reach 800,000 by 2012 according to ABI’s new study, “Automotive Fuel Cells: Global Market Issues, Technology Dynamics and Major Players.” “We started to see more upbeat participation among automotive fuel cell companies in the European Union in the last year and Japan already has been active in this field to take the lead along with the US. The US, on the other hand, has to push the fuel cell sector towards meaningful infrastructure deployments by bringing in all the stakeholders, especially the oil industry,” said Ozbek. ABI updated its forecasts for fuel cell vehicle shipments in the study and also updated its analysis of the changing global fuel cell business environment. The study exposes regional characteristics of the automotive fuel cell sector, and outlines a timeline for potential fuel cell penetration over the next 10 years. The new ABI study analyzes market opportunities for automotive fuel cells from passenger cars to buses, and trucks. Niche market opportunities from fleet applications to airport ground support vehicles are also studied. The report details the technical challenges and opportunities from market, economic, and environmental perspectives. The major players in the industry are delineated, along with the status of their technologies and their most likely market applications in the near term, from 2002 to 2012.