Toyota continues to tout its foray into the fuel cell future, according to the Los Angeles Times. And it’s not only Toyota. Hyundai has begun leasing a fuel cell-powered version of its Tucson SUV. Honda has announced plans to launch a new fuel cell car sometime in 2015. Ford “recently cut a deal with Daimler, Renault and Nissan to develop a joint fuel cell technology that all four companies would share,” according to the Times article. And GM is the global leader in patents for hydrogen fuel cell technology, the Times reports.
Big problems remain, however, before we will see lots of fuel cell-powered vehicles on our roadways, according to the
report. One is cost. While little has been officially released on the cost of these cars, Toyota’s Japanese model has a $68,000 price tag, which comes with a $20,000 government rebate. Reports earlier this year suggested that Toyota vehicle would be on sale as early as next March.
Another issue is refueling stations, and the infrastructure needed for them, which brings up another cost issue. Some estimate these fuel stations could cost as much as $2 million each. Others suggest that electricity is a better, more sustainable alternative to gas because hydrogen still needs to be manufactured.
Still, the stars seem to be aligning for fuel cell technology. Here are small cap companies focusing on fuel cell products and technology.
Hydrogenics Corp. (Nasdaq: HYGS), based in Mississauga, Ontario, develops and provides hydrogen generation and fuel cell products based on water electrolysis technology and proton exchange membrane technology. One division, OnSite Generation, focuses on hydrogen generation products for renewable energy, industrial and transportation customers. The other division, Power Systems, focuses on fuel cell products for OEMs systems integrators and end users for stationary applications including backup power and motive applications such as forklift trucks. HYGS products include HySTAT hydrogen generation equipment in its OnSite Generation business and HyPM fuel cell products in its Power Systems business. HYGS has operations in Belgium, Canada and Germany. It closed Oct. 30 at $16.92, down 1 cent for the day, with a market cap of $175 million. Its 52-week trading range is $11.55-$35.52.
Latham, NY-based Plug Power Inc. (Nasdaq: PLUG) manufactures fuel cell systems, including the GenDrive fuel cell, for industrial off-road markets and stationary power markets. PLUG stock, which was as high as $9 in early 2011, dropped to little more than $1 in 2012 but has rebounded nicely and the interest in fuel cells has helped bring a lot of attention to the company, as well as others in the industry. The average daily trading volume is about 7 million shares a day, according to Google Finance. PLUG stock closed July 11 at $4.25. It closed Oct. 30 at $4.49, up 5 cents for the day, with a market cap of $762 million. Its 52-week trading range is $0.45 – $11.72.
Danbury, CT-based FuelCell Energy Inc. (Nasdaq: FCEL) makes a variety of fuel cells and its stock trades actively, nearly 8.2 million shares a day on average. In June the company announced a deal with the University of California: the installation of a 1.4 MW fuel cell power plant that will reportedly provide 30 percent of the electricity for the UC Irvine Medical Center. FCEL closed July 11 at $2.14. It closed Oct. 30 at $1.83, up 6 cents for the day, with a market cap of $515 million. Its 52-week trading range is $1.28 – $4.74.
British Columbia-based Ballard Power Systems (Nasdaq: BLDP) manufactures and sells fuel cells and fuel cell materials for the automobile and other markets. BLDP stock also trades nicely, nearly 1.3 million shares a day. Recent news includes a downgrade Oct. 30 by Jennings Capital from Buy to Hold. The stock lingered at about $1 for much of 2012 and 2013. When we last looked July 15 it closed at $3.72. BLDP closed Oct. 30 at $2.74, down 4 cents for the day, with a market cap of $357 million. Its 52-week range is now $1.25 – $8.38.