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Posted by ukshowplateress
March 20th, 2020 at 6:47 am


When did you last spot a car powered by hydrogen fuel cells on the roads? That’s if you’ve ever even seen one.  What actually are hydrogen cars?  Why isn’t there more discussion over it when a large majority the automotive industry believe they will surpass battery powered electric vehicles in the next 10 years?

Hydrogen Fuel Cell

The power in Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars is produced in an entirely separate way in comparison to other electric cars. Power in this car is generated through chemical reactions happening between oxygen and hydrogen, rather than using a charge point.  Merging these elements will produce electricity, water and heat.

The simpler, and likely quicker, decision to use batteries could have been made by car manufactures due to the technology still being relatively new, whilst also under a considerable amount of pressure from governments eager to reach their environmental aims and green deadlines.

In terms of emissions, the only substance to arise out of the exhaust is water, meaning the technology is fully functioning.  Additionally, the vehicle can act as a mobile air cleanser as it picks up impure air on the move, due to it’s advanced in-car filter system.

Is There Much Choice On The Market?

The foremost options consist of the Hyundai Nexo, Toyota Mirai, and the Honda Clarity, all of these being manufacturers based in the same segment of the globe. This is no coincidence; even with Audi and BMW reportedly working on their products, car manufacturers from Europe seem to have low consumption currently.

Rare, expensive metals are used for the creation of the correct catalysts required to treat the chemicals, and the high price of these cars reflect this cost.  To lower the financial impact of the initial price, government grants are given, with a distinct bias towards businesses.  Over time prices will drop as the advanced technology is more commonly used and less difficult to create.

Benefits Of Battery-Powered Electric Vehicles

For a journey of 300-500 miles Hydrogen Cell Fuel cars can be topped up in only a few minutes with a sufficient amount of hydrogen.  Similar to traditional diesel or petrol, the hydrogen is pumped into the car through pressure.  Although, with the main focus currently on battery charge points,  not many filling stations provide hydrogen pumps.

There is a substantial debate within the automotive industry about making the methods better and greener; however, many experts believe battery-powered vehicles are only the beginning and  will ultimately be outstripped by the advancement of hydrogen cell fuel technology.  It is simple to pass the blame to the process that is used to produce hydrogen (most commonly produced through energy taken out of fossil fuels) in comparison to generating power from the wind or solar power.  Additionally, it needs to go to a filling station, most likely in a traditional diesel tanker.

The Science

Inside a hydrogen fuel cell is both an anode with a positive charge and a cathode with negative charge, they connect with an electrolyte.  In order to produce heat, water and electricity, a platinum catalyst begins a chemical reaction. A solo hydrogen cell would not be able to generate a sufficient amount of power needed to move the car but enough energy is created as they are all combined in stacks.

A cylinder inside the vehicle stores hydrogen under pressure.  With hydrogen being a gas that is flammable, concerns over safety have been put forward about this idea being dangerous.  Due to the industry working with a very strong list of safety requirements, there are yet to be any issues with the technology regarding safety.

A great feature of the Toyota Mira is it’s hydrogen tank with a triple-layer which is supposedly very crash-resistant, and five times more robust than an ordinary petrol tank that is actually made out of steel.  Aluminium and carbon fibre layers are used by Honda for a comparable outcome in order to tolerate extreme pressure and heat.

Understandably, there are a few concerns.  Hydrogen cars are unable to travel between France and the UK.

Should You Get A Hydrogen EV Rather Than A Regular Battery Type?

There is possibly less variation in the external style and drive of hydrogen cell cars in comparison to a traditional engine vehicle opposed to an electrical battery type.  The reason for this is hydrogen fuel acts in a much more similar way to traditional fossil fuels in comparison to the battery powered alternative. The car manufacturers admittedly agree that this type of technology isn’t for all people, mostly because there isn’t enough support from the infrastructure.  It is very possible that the hydrogen power still is a long way away yet, as tax encouragements are mainly aimed towards business purchasers rather than individual motorists. Hydrogen power will most likely be a long-term solution when compared to the simple, accessible battery types.

However, there is definitely genuine interest, as the breakdown service AA has already begun to work on the recovery procedures to restart a Hydrogen car in the scenario it runs out of fuel at the roadside.  Additionally, their vehicle for EV charging also contains a hydrogen dispenser which is able to refill hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, providing energy sufficient for another 40 miles, enough to make their way towards a fuelling station.

What’s The Drive Experience Like?

Anxiety over their range is still the largest worry about hydrogen cars, a greater problem than regular battery EVs of which already possess more charging places.  As the likely consumption is still unsure, manufacturers are hesitant to invest.  Furthering this unfortunate cycle, consumers are unwilling to show interest until there is an adequate amount of infrastructure readily available.