Battery electric« vs »hydrogen fuel cells«
A comparison between electric batteries and hydrogen fuel in e-mobility sector
Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have been in one or another form present since 1851 and hydrogen fuel cells technology was invented in 1839. Hydrogen has been in a way already used as a fuel in 1970es. Attempts of hydrogen use for powering cars are noted even before stated date. Still the fossil fuel industry has been dominating the mobility for about 160 years.
In 2019, by IEA, there were 7.2 million battery electric cars on the road worldwide. World economic forum has in January 2021 reported that globally, battery electric car sales reached 2.3 million in 2020. The number of hydrogen vehicles on the road is significantly less, 25,210 in 2019, according to IEA.
One of the upsides of BEVs is that the infrastructure of electric network is already existing. It has been much easier to set up charging stations for charging electric vehicles connecting them to the grid, then to establish hydrogen fulling stations. BEVs can be charged at home and the cost of electricity is in comparison to hydrogen about 8 times cheaper.
The upside of the hydrogen is a high specific energy (aka energy per unit mass), which presents an ideal potential fuel for powering heavy vehicles, such as planes, boats, trucks and similar. For hydrogen cars the costs are too high to reach the demand that would initiate higher scale of offer. This might be changing in the future and even near future since some markets like for instance Japan have made a political decission to invest into extensive expansion of hydrogen mobility. Hydrogen cars are also well known in Florida, USA. In most countries the fulling stations for hydrogen are scarce and in the beginning of 2021 they are about 3 models of hydrogen cars in the market, one from Toyota and another two from Hyundai.