On a bi-weekly basis, CAR welcomes our audience to decompress with our President and CEO, Carla Bailo, as she covers and shares her thoughts on the latest Hot Topics happening in the automotive industry. While the biweekly newsletter primarily covers four topics, this feature story previews two of the topics covered on September 10, 2021. If you would like access to the full newsletter for better insights into critical industry issues you and your organization are facing, sign up for our mailing list here.


HOT TOPICS 9/6/2021 – 9/10/2021

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

Carla’s thoughts:

There is a tremendous amount of money being allocated to hydrogen fuel cell research. In my view, when we consider the heavy truck market, construction equipment, and mining, electrification will be a stretch to make a reasonable business case. Commercial vehicles are meant to be utilized 24-7 and downtime causes dollars to go down the drain quickly.

However, the fuel cell hurdle is extremely high in terms of reduction of precious metals to bring the cost down to an affordable level, storage of hydrogen on the vehicle, and hydrogen infrastructure which is woefully behind EV charging stations here in the US. These challenges aren’t insurmountable, and I’m sure the dollars being allocated for research will produce breakthroughs. 

In my view, fuel cells make a lot of sense in ports and distribution hubs of hub and spoke transit as these are locations where the hydrogen infrastructure can be managed by those using it. Automakers have been going back and forth on this subject. It is interesting to see some automotive manufacturers abandoning fuel cells and others going all in. Time will tell who is right.


Supply Chain Disruptions

Carla’s thoughts:

Supply chain disruption is, quite frankly, one of my largest concerns as we reach the end of 2021 and head into 2022. Supply chain problems compounded by inflation doesn’t make for a robust economy.  And, there isn’t a clear end in sight until manufacturing capacity increases. Yet, we still need workers in factories and this is a tough picture at the moment. There are not enough workers to fill these factory jobs and many of these are high tech jobs where training is required. We need to start training and preparing now, as just simply building the semiconductor lines won’t be enough to solve the problem.

Further, as an industry, we need to work together, as never before, to create common standards and specs for these products. Variation reduction will help with price and supply. Semiconductors are not unique selling point for any automakers  – let’s not compete on this point and work together for a healthy and stable industry.





Carla Bailo

Carla Bailo

President & CEO

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