Author: Margherita Maurich
Publication date: 28.09.2023
In recent years, there has been a rise in awareness about climate change. Car industry is also one of the main causes: the car doesn’t only pollute with CO2 emissions, but also when it is produced and disposed of. Two different solutions have been adopted to fight environmental production in the automotive sector: electric cars and, the latest bet in this industry, the hydrogen cars. But what are the differences?
Electricity stored in a battery is the source of power for electric vehicles. Charging is by electricity supply. They have a lower environmental impact, lower operating and maintenance costs and are less noisy. On the other hand, the production of batteries increases the CO2 footprint: a longer autonomy is not guaranteed, and the charging time is extended. In Europe, Electric Cars Sales amounted to 10,200,000.
Electricity is produced through a chemical reaction in its fuel cell stack. The only emission? Steam. Therefore, it’s clear that there is no environmental impact, nor harmful emission. What's more, hydrogen cars are equipped with more autonomy than electric ones and charging times are on average 5 minutes. So why are they still poorly used?
3 Main Problems of Hydrogen Cars
1. The limited distribution of charging stations.
In Germany or in the USA charging stations are spreading more and more. Otherwise, there are other countries such as Italy that have only 3 charging stations for hydrogen cars. Spain is also strongly promoting hydrogen energy’s use: currently there are 45 hydrogen pumps active in the country.
2. The cost
If electric cars have a high cost compared to gasoline or hybrid cars, hydrogen cars cost even more. On average, the price is around 70,000 euros: twice the price of an electric or hybrid vehicle with similar characteristics.
3. Fuel transport challenge
Hydrogen is highly flammable: there are high risks in transporting the substance to service stations.
Who is betting on hydrogen?
Asia is betting on hydrogen industry: the Japanese government has declared that it wants to produce 800,000 hydrogen vehicles by 2030; China a million by 2035.
In Europe it is a need to transform the energetic system: emissions account for 71,7% of greenhouse gases. Thus, the decision to invest in hydrogen is not a surprise at all. The European Clean Hydrogen Alliance has set itself the goal of promoting the production and use of hydrogen in all possible areas.
Now there are two hydrogen cars ready for purchase: the Hyundai Nexo SUV and the Toyota Mirai. On top of that, BMW is renewing its interest in this area. It is no coincidence that Germany is one of the leading investors in hydrogen energy.
What to expect from the future
While there are more and more investors in the automotive world for hydrogen energy, many still don’t have full confidence. However, a change is imperative. This is because greenhouse gases continue to damage the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. July 2023 was the hottest since 1980. So, it’s only a matter of time before the damage becomes irreparable.