While battery-electric cars are seeing rapidly growing sales and are widely seen as the future of emissions free vehicles, hydrogen cars are still somewhat overlooked.
When comparing hydrogen cars and battery electric vehicles, many people wonder why anyone would choose an H2 option when fuel cell vehicles suffer energy loss. Electric vehicles (EVs) are more efficient than their gasoline-powered counterparts. An EV electric drive system is only responsible for a 15% to 20% energy loss compared to 64% to 75% for a gasoline engine.
EVs also use regenerative braking to recapture and reuse energy that normally would be lost in braking and waste no energy idling. EVs are 60% to 73% efficient, depending upon drive cycle. However, if the energy recaptured from regenerative braking is counted, EVs are 77% to 100% efficient.
All vehicles experience energy loss, including internal combustion engines, electrics and H2-powered.
Energy is lost no matter what type of vehicle is driven. It’s easy to assume that an electric vehicle would not be included in that group, as it uses electricity directly from the grid. However, an electric vehicle’s drive system still experiences an energy loss of between 15 percent and 20 percent. Because refilling a hydrogen car is very similar to filling up with petrol or diesel, it is also almost as quick – it takes around 5 minutes to fill a tank. This is undoubtedly an advantage over the long waiting times when charging an electric vehicles.
However, one of the biggest reasons for the slow uptake of hydrogen cars is the existing infrastructure. For example, according to UK H2 Mobility, there are currently 11 hydrogen stations open in the UK. This is obviously far less than the amount of petrol stations and public EV charge points but more hydrogen filling stations are planned. For now, though, not having a filling station nearby is clearly impractical for many people.
Hydrogen-powered vehicles offer superior sustainability mainly due to no long-term mining involved or large battery waste/recycling, evolving green production development, storage capability and zero emissions. Hydrogen cars also offer many benefits to consumers, such as quieter operation due to fewer vibrations from the fuel cell, and much faster refueling times compared to electric vehicles. This makes them an attractive option for those looking for a vehicle that provides both convenience and environmental sustainability.