• Sunday, Nov 28, 2021
  • Last Update : 08:17 pm

Hydrogen cars can make a comeback

  • Published at 07:50 pm October 24th, 2021
Hydrogen car

Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota are among the major firms that are now testing out hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) in their production lines to see which proves the most successful.

Ever wondered why hydrogen-powered cars never made it big? Ten years ago, one of the very first commercially produced hydrogen fuel cell cars, the Hyundai ix35 was first introduced in the market in 2013, after which Toyota and Honda entered the market. 

Somewhere along the line, these vehicles lost market traction and found themselves lagging way behind the likes of electric vehicles (EVs), which have become mainstream all over the world. 

Even though there are only a handful of fully electric vehicles in Bangladesh, hybrids are commonly seen plying the streets of Dhaka and the numbers are only increasing and for all the right reasons too. 

The major advantage of hydrogen cars is that they produce zero emissions, only H2O (water) out of the tailpipe, the same advantage electric cars also bring to the table. 

But the advantage of hydrogen cars over electric cars is that one can fill these vehicles up from a fuel pump, which only takes a couple of minutes just like how we put fuel in a regular combustion engine, whereas electric vehicles can take hours to recharge to its full capacity. 

However, one of the major reasons why hydrogen vehicles didn’t succeed to an extent everyone had hoped is because hydrogen isn’t totally green if we look closely. 

It’s clean when it is used in a car, but it requires a lot of energy to get the liquid into fuel pumps, ultimately contributing to global warming. 

Another reason is the cost of infrastructure, as hydrogen pumps are quite expensive to build and on the other hand PHEV (plug-in hybrids) charging ports can easily be put anywhere. 

Even though car manufacturers appear to be focusing mostly on battery electric vehicles at the moment, as there are few fuel cell cars known to be in development, that could change and hydrogen vehicles can actually make a comeback, according to industry insiders.  

Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota are among the major firms that are now testing out hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) in their production lines to see which proves the most successful.  

FCEVs have been criticized for being less efficient as only around 55% of the hydrogen energy created through electrolysis is usable, compared to between 70 and 80% in battery-electric cars. 

However, there are other advantages to fuel cells, including a longer driving range.

Hyundai recently announced that it intends to release hydrogen fuel cell versions of all its commercial vehicle models within this decade, by the year 2028 to be more exact, as part of its ‘Vision 2040’. 

The major car manufacturer promises its next-generation fuel-cell system to be released in 2023. 

It also hopes to produce a hydrogen FCEV at a competitive price point, comparable to its EV counterpart. 

This could catapult the popularity of the FCEV, which is currently far more expensive than lower-end EVs.  

Also in contrast to lithium-ion batteries, hydrogen fuel cells are more suitable for use in heavy vehicles and aviation, allowing car manufacturers to expand the use of fuel cells beyond standard commercial vehicles. 

The potential for use of hydrogen fuel cells in heavy trucks could help to improve public interest in the most viable alternative to EV batteries. 

Bangladesh currently has zero infrastructure when it comes to electric vehicles or hydrogen-powered cars. Keeping the future trends in mind, the country should focus on building some of the recharge stations across the major cities. 

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