The world has recently been moving toward sustainable transportation and green energy use. Vehicles backed by green energy contribute to sustainable transportation, minimization of greenhouse gas emissions, and give energy independence. Thus, green energy transportation arises into two different paths in the form of EVs and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology.
Electric vehicles run on lithium-ion batteries or fuel cell technology. Fuel cell technology is considered the greenest technology used in producing electric or fuel engine-based vehicles. Whereas Hydrogen cars use hydrogen fuel cell technology, an electrochemical process of hydrogen and oxygen to produce electric energy, and water as a by-product. Fuel cell tech-based vehicles use hydrogen fuel to generate electricity which is utilized to run vehicles. Though hydrogen is the most abundant element on the earth, it has to be extracted from other materials like water to use as a clean and green energy source. Compared to other fuels Hydrogen fuel is much more expensive. Hydrogen fuel technology requires more investment in time and money because precious and expensive metals like platinum, titanium, and iridium are required as a catalyst in the reaction. So, the cost of raw materials used in this technology is not so affordable for companies to start a business and manufacture hydrogen cars. Around 2010, hydrogen cars were introduced as an effective and efficient technology in the automobile industry, but the efficiency and energy conservation in hydrogen cars is low, which results in the decline of these vehicles from the sustainable transport market. So, hydrogen cars were considered a revolutionary technology, but EV technology dominated them, which resulted in the failure of hydrogen cars.
Let’s check out some reasons behind the failure of hydrogen cars.
- Hydrogen cars are overly expensive
As any new technology comes up with high prices, hydrogen cars are also no exception to this. Hydrogen-powered cars are expensive due to the use of precious metals like titanium and platinum, which increase their price compared to EV vehicles. The storage, extraction, and transportation process required to make hydrogen fuel is more complex and costlier than fossil fuel. In the USA, the starting price of a hydrogen car ranges between $49,000 to $56,000, which is far more expensive than the normal hybrid and EV vehicles. Therefore, if we study economically, hydrogen car is not an investment option for many people yet.
- Low efficiency
The efficiency of any car can be determined by checking how much amount of energy is conserved during the process of hydrogen production. EVs have nearly 85-90 % of efficiency, and hydrogen cars only have 25-30 % of efficiency. Almost 45 percent of energy is lost to produce hydrogen during the electrolysis process in hydrogen cars which lowers their efficiency and energy conservation. Electric vehicles require an optimum amount of energy to charge onboard batteries in them. So, currently, electric cars are preferred over hydrogen cars all over the world.
- Lack of proper infrastructure
Many countries have adopted a sustainable transportation system and EVs with charging grid infrastructure for EV owners. But, there are no such infrastructural arrangements for hydrogen cars yet. Aside from the lack of fuel stations, there is also the absence of good maintenance and repair because many mechanics are not yet amicable with hydrogen car repair. Therefore, if anyone owns a hydrogen car and has a problem, then that person might not be able to fix it, easily!
- EV technology is improving
We have seen the increasing use of EVs by people in the last two years. The global electronic and automobile market share has witnessed an enormous rise in the past few years, and the world expects that increasing use of EVs will bring a drastic change in the automobile industry. As EVs are already reaching the peak in sustainable and green transportation, hydrogen cars are left behind in this advancement. Affordable prices, available infrastructure, and improving technology convince people and consumers to buy EVs over hydrogen cars.
- Hydrogen cars are not eco-friendly
It is assumed that hydrogen cars and hydrogen fuel technology are green and efficient because the process of production of hydrogen fuel by electrolysis is completely environmentally friendly. In the process of electrolysis, water and hydrogen are the by-products of this reaction which does not harm any natural factor. For the production of cheap hydrogen fuel, fossil fuels like gasoline or diesel are used, which create emissions and combustion of harmful gasses. So if hydrogen cars will be used in the future, due to advanced technology, then people will obviously use cheap hydrogen fuel over expensive ones. So this is also one of the disadvantages of hydrogen cars and the reason behind their failure in the automobile market.
The Bottom Line
These are some reasons behind the failure of hydrogen cars in the EV market. Battery-based EVs are already capturing the worldwide market of the automobile industry, so there is limited scope for hydrogen cars in the present day. Some researchers say that technology related to hydrogen cars is constantly improving, so there may be a chance to see hydrogen cars on the road if the technology and efficiency of these cars will improve in the future.