Are Fuel Cell Vehicles the new clean future?


We stated that 2013 was the year of the final breakthrough of electric vehicles.  The sales of Ev’s grew rapidly: theTesla Model S was the best-selling car in Norway and cities around the world were ranked for best EV-city.

But what kind of development is there besides the technology of EV’s? At the last LA Auto Show CES, the Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) made a comeback. Three automakers, Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota, will offer fuel-cell cars to consumers by the end of 2015, albeit in small numbers and limited geographical areas. Most automakers are pursuing both hydrogen and plug-in electric cars, to a greater or lesser extent, but clearly a few have chosen sides: Honda and Toyota clearly believe in hydrogen as the primary zero-emission fuel of the future. Each has said repeatedly that battery-electric cars are suitable only for the smallest vehicles, used over short distances only in crowded urban environments.

APphoto_Japan Tokyo Motor ShowThey have some good points: the range of a FCV is much bigger than the of EV: Toyota claimes that their new Fuel Cell Vehicle concept car is able to drive 480 kilometers.

Byung Ki Ahn, the general manager of fuel-cell research at Hyundai, said to CNN that the company’s fuel-cell vehicles are not directly competing with its battery-powered ones.”There might be some overlapping in-between, but basically, our strategy is that we are developing fuel cells for heavier and mid-size cars and (battery-powered) electric vehicles for smaller ones,” he said.

So what would it be in the future: EV, FCV or both? Could there be an infrastructure that provide both, or is that an utopia? On the other hand, whether EV’s are powered by a battery, by a fossil fuel range extender or even by a hydrogen fuel cell, an electric motor has many advantages over a conventional drivetrain. So maybe these techniques could just support each other. The most important reason for both technologies  is namely to offer clean mobility for our future.

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