The global sales of fuel cell vehicles (FCVs), fuel cell-powered vehicles running on hydrogen, will be more than 2.8 million by 2020, according to new research by US-based Pike Research.

Fuel cell cars and trucks, which promise zero emissions other than water and heat, will be commercially launched in most regions of the world by 2014.

Western Europe will lead sales with a market share of 37%, Asia Pacific will come in second with 36% and North America will have a share of 25% between 2014-2020.

Industry analyst Dave Hurst said FCVs have been an elusive goal for the automotive industry but they are on the verge of commercial reality.

“With substantial support from the largest automakers, the pressure is on gas companies and governments to make sure that hydrogen fuelling stations are available to support this emerging market,” Hurst said.

The study analysed the current state of fuel cell technology as it moves toward commercialisation in light vehicles, medium or heavy duty trucks and buses.