TO THE EDITOR:
Richard Truett wonders if General Motors can build fuel cells rapidly enough to meet expected mass-market demand for hydrogen-powered trucks from Nikola ("How is GM going to build the fuel cell stacks for Nikola?" autonews.com, Sept. 8). At present, GM can't — and won't — in sufficient time to become the major player in that market.
GM will fail because fuel cells, as Truett noted, must be made flawlessly at high speed — and that to be economically viable for truck use, they must be large. Fuel cell economics must still be created from zero; comparing or extrapolating their economic viability is futile. GM threw away its U.S. sedan market to Japanese competitors in the 1990s with such an approach.
GM will also screw up fuel cells because it can't or won't understand that fuel cells must compete simultaneously against electric cars for buyers while both compete against gasoline cars and hybrids. GM will thus have high-cost technologies all depending on economic survival by putting each other out of business. GM's history has proved this is a task far beyond the automaker's capacity and ability.
NORMAN HIGBY, President, WMP Forecasts, Menlo Park, Calif.