Yesterday, I talked about the APFCT hydrogen scooter taking a road trip around Taiwan. On this trip the empty hydrogen tank was swapped out for a fresh tank several times in less than 3 minutes.
This got me to thinking about worldwide scooter sales and where gasoline scooters could be replaced by hydrogen fuel cell scooters. The U. S. scooter sales per year in 2002 was an estimated at 69,000, up from 12,000 in 1997.
In 2004, U. S. scooter sales were estimated to be around 97,000. Scooter sales in Japan for 2009 are estimated to be around 20,000. In many Asian nations, scooter sales outpace auto sales.
Scooters have been in use since the late 1800’s and early 1900’s and many of them have been used in tourist destinations.
According to eHotelier, the top 10 travel destinations in 2010 were:
4. New York
7. Hong Kong
But, where I think hydrogen scooters will take off first will be popular beach cities and vacation islands where there are many shops already renting gasoline scooters to tourists. In some places like Bermuda, tourists cannot hire autos. Instead they have to choose to travel by scooter, bike or foot.
Hawaii is already piloting General Motors hydrogen vehicles and building an H2 fueling station infrastructure. Some of the most popular island tourist destinations where we could see the sales of hydrogen scooters flourish include Puerto Rico (and other Islands in the Caribbean), Crete, Bali and Tahiti.
Because Japan is building a hydrogen refueling station infrastructure for autos and starting to power homes using hydrogen fuel cells, I predict that Japan will also be a hotbed of hydrogen scooter activity.
The Taiwan experiment showed that hydrogen scooters can be used for long road trips if desired. But, most scooter riders only put short distances on their vehicles at one time and generally stay in the same location.
The ability to swap out tanks quickly and easily at home or on the road, make hydrogen scooters an attractive alternative that may beat hydrogen autos to commercialization.