Battery electric cars are proving a popular option for electric vehicles (EVs) manufacturers and buyers across the world, where zero-emission engines are critical to reducing pollution.
Are hydrogen-based vehicles more efficient than battery-powered?
Like battery-based EVs, hydrogen cars allow storing energy in the form of hydrogen to charge electric vehicles. Battery electric cars, however, are not the only way to reduce carbon footprint. But EVs manufacturer is also experimenting with hydrogen vehicles to commercialize it in the market.
Many companies around the world, including some Chinese manufacturers, are working to develop hydrogen cars. In 2018, Toyota Mirai, Hyundai Nexo and Honda Clarity were the three prototype hydrogen cars available in the market.
As of 2019, steam methane reforming that emits carbon dioxide account for 98% of the hydrogen.
Both innovations have been around for decades, but battery electric vehicles made significant progress. EVs have a ready infrastructure such as power grids or renewable energy sources. Today, more than 5 million battery power electric cars (BEVs) are on the roads across the world.
On the other hand, the hydrogen vehicles currently face weaker infrastructures, along with no specific environmental benefit in comparison to both electric cars and petrol vehicles. They cannot compete with BEVs because hydrogen itself is not an energy source; it is just an energy carrier.
Electric vehicles are at least three times more efficient than hydrogen fuel vehicles. A lot of investment is needed to build a complete infrastructure for hydrogen vehicles industry, i.e. large refineries, pipelines, storage facilities, compressors, hydrogen gas stations, and so on.
At the moment, both fuel cell and electric battery vehicles operating cost are more than an internal combustion car. The price of hydrogen fuel is about US$ 5.60 a gallon today under the California Fuel Cell Alliance, and fuel cell vehicles themselves are also more expensive.
Although hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are considered to be far too difficult for mass adoption, manufacturers like Toyota, are convinced that hydrogen technology is better for the environment than for electric battery cars. Toyota first unveiled the Mirai hydrogen of their second generation at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2018.
Both technologies have many fundamental elements and as a result, scientists currently working on study lines which could use both battery and fuel cell applications.