So is there a future for Hydrogen Powered Vehicles – is the Future really “Hydrogen Blue”, as marketers try to make us believe? Will the Automotive Future be Blue – with Roads full of Hydrogen Cars?
Honestly, I do not believe that. Actually, it seems that two concepts are fighting for their place in the automotive history. On the one hand, it is the battery powered vehicle. This is the electric car (and yes, a fuel cell with Hydrogen produces electricity, too – here a car with a battery and a power plug is meant). On the other hand since years the hydrogen powered fuel cell car is the predicted winner in this race.
So how can Hydrogen become a success?
First, you should know that the fuel cell is just one way of using Hydrogen for powering vehicles. In this case in a Fuel Cell Hydrogen and Oxygen are fused to water, by that producing electricity. This electricity powers an electric engine.
Btw.: A fuel cell, like that from Bloom Energy can use different fuel sources like natural gas, not only Hydrogen.
The other way is using a “normal engine”, or ‘Internal Combustion Engine’ to burn the Hydrogen to produce kinetic energy, as your car does right now with gas. The exploding gas pushes the cylinder heads, giving your car propulsion.
So you can see Car Manufacturers have different possibilities to build our mobile Hydrogen future.
The Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine could also be used to burn normal gas, making the car a Hybrid until the Hydrogen Filling Station network is built up.
So what is the situation with Hydrogen Powered Vehicles?
Well, actually it seems that Car Makers more and more put their bets (and Research and Development funds) on the battery driven Electric Car.
Since today’s main weakness of Electric Cars is the weak battery they assume that soon breakthroughs will be made to give these cars more miles per filling. And then all you need is your power outlet in your garage to be ready for the next trip. No need to put billions of USD into new filling stations worldwide.
So Ford has just recently dropped its Hydrogen Powered Vehicles Program, stating that “The next major step in Ford’s plan is to increase over time the volume of electrified vehicles”. And they did this though they were asking the Government for money during the financial crisis. So they were pretty sure.
Also Renault-Nissan dropped their Hydrogen plans and GM reduced their Research for Hydrogen Cars in 2009. The CEO of GM just recently said that Hydrogen Cars cost about ten times more than Electricity Powered Cars…not calculating the build-up of infrastructure costs for the Governments.
So, will there be a Hydrogen Car Future? I do believe there will be some carmakers like BMW who already invested too much to give up. So we will see some Celebrities with Hydrogen Cars, yes.
But the economic success and your future car will be powered by a battery…