What is the future of Human Mobility? Electric vehicles or is it Hydrogen Vehicles?

We are at the verge of a technological jump with respect to Transportation. The future of transportation is going to look very different than it is today. Driver less Vehicles, on Demand shared vehicles and Eco-friendly cars will shape the future of Human mobility.

Battery integrated electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel powered vehicles are considered to be a game changer for the future of Human mobility. It is expected that both of these technologies will power the majority of cars and buses in the coming 15-20 years. While the majority of people are familiar with battery integrated electric vehicles made by Tesla, Mahindra, Lucid and Nissa,the hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles are relatively less known.

 

When we think about the perfect vehicle of the future, it should have some basic characteristics like for example

it should have more mileage
it should have an extremely powerful engine
Fast refueling/charging time
less initial investment
zero emission.
less moving parts( low maintenance )

 

In this article we will try to compare these two future vehicle technologies on the basis of the above characteristics.

Factors Battery Integrated Electric Vehicle

Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicle

Refuelling/Charging time 90 to 110 KM for 20-25 min charging  (Tesla Roadster-2018) 300-500 KM for 5-7 min refuelling
Fuel Cost $: 0.08-0.09/kWh $: 0.59-0.7/ltr
Power (Engine) 0-60 mph in 2 second 0 to 60 mph in 10 second (Toyota-Mirai)
Initial Investment High Lower than EVs
Zero-Emission Not fully zero-emission Fully zero-emission
Safety safer Hydrogen storage issue
Toxic materials Using more toxic material e.g. nickel, cadmium, lithium etc

 

Using less toxic material (only for electrolytes)

Comparison Between Electric Vehicles and Hydrogen Fuel Vehicles

  1. Refueling/Charging time: One of the distinct advantages of the hydrogen vehicle is that it offers much faster refueling than electric vehicles (typically, 5 – 7 minutes for running 300-500 KM) where electric vehicle (Tesla roadster) need 20-25 minutes charging to run 90 to 110 KM.
  2. Fuel Cost: Fuel cost for hydrogen powered car is quite higher than electric vehicle but less than conventional fuel. It can easily run 100 km in just 3.8 liter, where the electricity cost to charge a EV is just $ 0.08-0.09/kwh. As prices of hydrogen car have dramatically declined over the past 5 years.  The current price point is equivalent to an entry level luxury vehicle.  In addition, several car companies are now offering free fuel to their customers which is also key to keeping their driving costs down.
  3. Engine Power: Both of these technologies  have  powerful engines. Electricity engine can achieve 0-60 mph in just 2 second where hydrogen fuel cell powered engine can run 0-60 mph in just 10 second. Speed matters ,but 0-60 mph in 10 second is good enough power for your average Joe.
  4. Zero-Emission: Unlike gasoline based engines, fuel cells emit zero harmful emissions. In addition, the fuel cell vehicles have much longer ranges than the electric vehicle and also have rapid acceleration.  Many people don’t know that the majority of fuel cell vehicles actually run off of electric motors.  These electric motors are also much simpler than combustion engines and do not require gears.
  5.  Safety: Hydrogen is highly flammable –even more  than conventional fuel(Petrol, Diesel) – and is difficult to store. This means that any car fitted with a hydrogen fuel cells is a lot more likely to blow up or set on fire. This safety issue is obviously a huge problem for those hoping to implement this new power source into their cars.
  6. Toxic Material: Electric car battery  contains highly toxic hazardous material like cadmium, nickel, lithium etc. and after expiring, disposal of these materials are a pain. Where as in the hydrogen fuel cell uses much less toxic material like Hg and Pb.

 

International car companies are investing heavily in Electric cars and most of them have already launched their prototype vehicle or are in the process of launching one. There is no doubt that electric vehicles will dominate the automobile market in upcoming years. But still there some major drawbacks using electric vehicles like long charging time, price, safety. The term Zero emission through electric vehicles is still questionable because to charge electric vehicles, the power may be generated by burning conventional fuels in power plants.Hence these cars are not so green after all, Where as Hydrogen Fuel Vehicles are greener , have less toxic materials, faster refueling time but Safety is an issue .
So What do you think ? Which one will be the future of Human Mobility?

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