What Is The Future For Hydrogen Vehicles? - EV Motors

What Is The Future For Hydrogen Vehicles?

A recent study in the journal named Nature Electronics recently suggested that for keeping pace with the growing needs of the world regarding climate crisis, the world should remain focused on producing EVs and constructing their charging infrastructure instead of making Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and their filling stations.

Figures Tell The Story

The Hydrogen fuel cell cars simply can’t keep up with the growing EV market which is evident from the sales figures.

In 2022, there are almost 15 million electric and hybrid vehicles already on the road with such vehicles being offered by a large number of companies. The total number of EV and hybrid models range over 350 at present and even this is likely to increase soon.

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In contrast to this, there are approximately 25,000 Hydrogen fuel cell cars all around the world and with just two options i.e. Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo, buyers don’t have much of a choice either. [1]

Electric Chargers Are Abundant

Electric vehicles are much better and easier to drive in the future mainly because due to the heavy influx in the segment, a large number of charging stations are already being built.

Out of the total 1.3 million EV chargers available across the globe, many offer fast charging capabilities that reduce the charging time. [2]

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How FCEVs Have Lost Their Charm?

In the beginning, Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles had two main advantages over their EV counterparts which were elongated range and faster refilling.

However, as not many Hydrogen filling stations exist out there, you will need to travel a considerable distance for getting a Hydrogen vehicle topped up, which in most cases costs way too much money and is thus not feasible.

With the dawn of the 300kW chargers that charge EVs enough to last several hundred kilometers in under an hour, the range is also no longer that big an issue for EVs.

What About Hydrogen-Powered Trucks?

When it comes to the trucking paradigm, the electric segment again has the lead as more than 150 battery-electric truck models are currently in existence whereas the fuel cell trucks are manufactured by just two automakers. [2]

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Electric & Hydrogen Truck Manufacturing

For now, no commercially available hydrogen-powered trucks are available and with no chances of the manufacturing beginning before 2027, the Hydrogen segment might have already lost the race to EVs which are not just in production but also being sold in millions each year.

European Law – Ray Of Hope For Electric Truck Segment

A European law bars truckers from travelling beyond after 4.5 hours of travel. After driving for this long they need to take a 45-minute break.

This is what the EV segment can capitalize on and use this 45-minute break to top up the trucks.

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If this happens, any hope that the hydrogen segment has, for now, will also disappear.

The economy of scale is also in the favour of the electric segment and as the EVs continue to become less expensive, the same can’t be said about Hydrogen vehicles and their infrastructure.

Automakers Offering Huge Discounts On FCEVs

In a bid to make the technology a hit, automakers of the FCEVs offered huge discounts last year that ranged between 50 to 65% of the total price and this is why the sales figures saw an 82% increase. [3]

However, even after such a dramatic increase in sales, the overall number of FCEVs sold during the year was just a fraction of what the electric world achieved.

The Toyota Mirai whose 1770 units were sold in 2020 rose to 5918 units in 2021 whereas the Hyundai Nexo’s sales went from 6781 units in 2020 to 9620 in 2021. [3]

Toyota slashed the price of the Mirai by $20,000 and the US government’s grants offered a further discount of around $12,500 which meant that the brand new Toyota Mirai which otherwise costs around $50,000 could be had for around $18,000, last year.

And this was not all, a $15,000 fuel card for the first three years was also offered by the company which meant that drivers could move around their Mirai for around 100,000 km for free.

But the sales were still abysmal which shows how badly the FCEVs are performing in the market.

Author’s Take

FCEVs are no match for the EVs and with the growing fast charging mechanism, the gap is only increasing

Even jaw-dropping rebates could not attract a substantial number of buyers which proves that the Hydrogen vehicles have no future whatsoever.

 

References
  1. Shane Wilkinson, Hydrogen Fuel Cells: DO Hydrogen Cars Have A Future, https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/electric-cars/93180/hydrogen-fuel-cells-do-hydrogen-cars-have-future
  2. Leigh Collins, Hydrogen unlikely to play major role in road transport, even for heavy trucks’: Fraunhofer, https://www.rechargenews.com/energy-transition/-hydrogen-unlikely-to-play-major-role-in-road-transport-even-for-heavy-trucks-fraunhofer/2-1-1162055
  3. Leigh Collins, Hydrogen car sales almost doubled last year — after drivers were offered 50-65% discounts, https://www.rechargenews.com/energy-transition/hydrogen-car-sales-almost-doubled-last-year-after-drivers-were-offered-50-65-discounts/2-1-1168221

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