The electric car is finally getting popular. But what happened to the hydrogen-car? Is the electric car just an in-between-technology, to get to the holy cradle of car engines? I don’t think so. The electric car is gaining momentum in every aspect: investors, production companies, consumers, innovation, etc, etc… Here’s my summary of facts why the hydrogen car cannot compete with the electric car.
  • THERE IS NO HYDROGEN. Hydrogen is no energy source, like gasoline, coal, uranium, wind and sun are. It’s not mined, or drilled for. It has to be produced. Right now, hydrogen is available only in very small quantities. There are no factories or refineries that can produce hydrogen in the quantities we need to ride a substantial amount of cars with.

 

  • LOT’S OF WATER. To produce hydrogen we need a lot of water. Almost every industry uses water to produce, but an hydrogen-producing industry requires 20 to 30 times more water than the gasoline-producing industry needs, measured by driven mile.

 

  • HUGE LOSSES. There are huge losses during production, storage, transport and use: about 85% loss for hydrogen, vs 35% loss for an electric car, per mile driven.

 

  • COMPLICATED. A hydrogen-based car is technically much more complicated than a car that uses a combustion engine. An electric car is elegantly simple to produce. Hydrogen cars will need more maintenance than an electric car, because more components are required for a hydrogen-based car.

 

  • NO INFRASTRUCTURE. For hydrogen, there is no delivery infrastructure, like we have for petrol gas and electricity. We cannot easily reuse the liquid gas infrastructure for hydrogen, because very different technology is required to store and transport hydrogen.

 

  • POLLUTION. Hydrogen cars are supposed to be clean. Only water vapor is exiting the exhaust. When a lot of cars are evaporating water, that will be an unwanted byproduct of driving a hydrogen car. Watervapor is the most significant greenhouse gas (even more than CO2), so it needs to be stored in containers in the car en emptied once in a while.

 

  • DANGEROUS. Hydrogen is much more dangerous than gasoline, LPG or electricity. It’s flammable when in contact with oxygen (the air we breathe). When stored for use in a hydrogen car, it’s pressurized much more than LPG, which makes a lot of things a lot more complicated. Cars with LPG installations are not allowed to park everywhere, because of the danger of explosions. By the same reason, LPG stations are mostly not allowed to be inside a city border. This will also be the case for hydrogen cars and stations.

 

  • ON MORE THING: Because hydrogen is heavily pressurized, you can not fill up your car in a few minutes, like you can with a petrol-based car. Filling up the tank of a hydrogen car might take 30 minutes. Previous generation electric cars needed hours to recharge. The latest generation of electric cars can recharge in minutes.
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