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News extra: Issue 592 16 Mar 2012

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Is the car of the future actually going to arrive sooner than expected?

Long derided by critics as a technology that “is always ten years in the future”, the hydrogen fuel cell-powered car has recently inspired something of a renewed surge in interest, with at least one major car maker saying that it will have large-scale production up and running from 2015. But is the current optimism justified?

Rik Thomas

A few years ago everybody was talking about hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars as the ultimate replacement for cars powered by hydrocarbons. But then, acknowledging that commercially viable hydrogen-powered cars were a good few years away from reality, most people’s attention turned to electrically-powered vehicles as a more pragmatic option, at least in the near term.

That has recently begun to change, however, and the fuel cell car is now definitely back on people’s minds. One of the...

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