Debate between Electric and Hydrogen powered vehicles

The world is shrieking about the automobile industry’s dependence on fossil fuels and hereby depleting them to the core. We all are aware that one day, the reserves would be completely eliminated and we would have to give the future generation just pictures of petrol or diesel. Seriously, considering the rising costs of fuel, most of the car owners would prefer to take public transport rather than their private vehicles. But then scientists have found out various other alternative fuels such as electricity and hydrogen. But then the discussion rages as to which fuel is better in terms of sustainability, being realistic and most importantly cost effective. Here I have actually listed out a few points to differentiate the same.

Cost

Electric vehicles : It is said that with improved infrastructure and high end R&D, the electric vehicle’s battery system would be so developed that it would, in the end, be a cost effective proposition. Moreover, the government subsidy would also help lower down the price of these cars. Pay as you go electric points with faster charging access would help motivate most to go in for electric vehicles.

Hydrogen vehicles : Hydrogen has a better range than most of the Electric vehicles but this doesn’t translate to a lower asking price for the vehicle. It is almost priced at par with the electric vehicles, if not more. Hydrogen technology is been adopted to be taken out from wind and solar energy rather than the natural gas that is been used now. For Hydrogen, one has to set up pumps for the same and the cost would be slightly more than a similar electric vehicle charging point would cost.

Infrastructure

Electric vehicles : In Europe, most of the countries have put up charging points in almost every street. Many of the companies setting these up sell them at a subsidized rate in their hometown but charge a premium from others. For electric vehicles, there is also a range extender that increases the distance that can be covered but then these are also very expensive. Moreover, if one stays in an apartment block, how can one charge their vehicle? This is the biggest hurdle coming up in the way of EVs.

Hydrogen vehicles : This technology can still be called as in its nascent stages and hence there aren’t many Hydrogen fuel stations supporting these vehicles. The only vehicles that I know, which are Hydrogen powered are the Mercedes Benz F cell and the Honda FCX Clarity. Mercedes as well as other manufacturers following suit have promised that by 2015, they would produce about 1 lakh cars between them. However the Hydrogen fuel stations would have to be double the amount of cars to make any serious impact in the sales quotient.

Future

Electric vehicles : The future for electric vehicles would mean volume, efficiency, cost, NVH, power, torque, modularity of components and scalability. The future looks bright for Electric vehicles as they would be popular due to the rising fuel prices hounding one and all. Environmental awareness also plays a key part in the same with more and more of the people becoming environment conscious. Electric vehicles are seen as the latest technology things in the automobile industry and hence most of the car buying public would love to be seen in them.

Hydrogen vehicles : Temperature, reliability and quality would be the major factors on which the Hydrogen vehicles industry would concentrate on. If the vehicles are mass produced, obviously the costs would come down and they would be deemed more acceptable by the car buying public. Since Hydrogen is distributed in both compressed as also the liquid form, it is significantly pricier as special pipelines have to be developed for it.

The debate would continue but then I am happy that in the end, it would be us, the automobile buyers who would benefit from this debate. Manufacturers would vie with one another over this things and in the end, we would get cheaper, cleaner and vehicles with a better range than what is been currently offered. The Government of India has also announced in the recently concluded budget session that there would be more of cess for the Electric vehicle industry. Kudos to that.

One Reply to “Debate between Electric and Hydrogen powered vehicles”

  1. I am pleased that you are still considering fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs); many writers simply dismiss hydrogen-powered FCEVs for various reasons. The prestigious McKinsey & Company has released a report that analyzed alternative vehicles for the EU. Among other things, they concluded that:
    installing an electrical charging infrastructure for BEVs and PHEVs for the entire EU would cost 520 billion Euros over the next 40 years, while a hydrogen infrastructure would cost “only” 101 billion Euros.
    They estimated that 50% of all cars in Europe are either too big or travel too far to be powered by batteries alone, while FCEVs can replace larger cars that travel longer distances than average.
    McKinsey also estimated that hydrogen-powered FCEVs would cost less to own and operate than eithter BEVs or PHEVs by 2030.

    For our summary of this extensive report, see: http://www.cleancaroptions.com/McKinsey_EU_Report_key_points.pdf

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