OYSTER BAY, NY--Growth in the automotive fuel cell vehicle market will still be strong by the end of the decade, although product availability in 2003 and 2004 will be less than Allied Business Intelligence (ABI) originally expected.

According to the latest ABI automotive fuel cell study, global automotive fuel cell sales will be measured in the thousands of units in the United States and in Japan in 2003 and 2004, with a large increase occurring globally in 2007 and 2008.

If regulatory incentives and key technical challenges are overcome, ABI expects 2.4 million vehicles running on fuel cells, or 4.3 percent of all automobiles produced in 2011.

The main technological issues still standing in the way of fuel developers and automakers include fuel cell fuel distribution and simplifying fuel cell processing. Also, fuel cells will be too expensive until approximately 100,000 have been manufactured.