Battery electric« vs »hydrogen fuel cells«

Battery electric vs hydrogen fuel cells: the relevance of hydrogen and details related to his production and usage


Part three

Tank to wheel conversion efficiency means for hydrogen that the hydrogen once in the tank must be re-converted into electricity. The process with pure hydrogen uses, resulting in 60% energy efficiency from a tank. The losses of energy are also when charging batteries and due to leakage of batteries, this may amount to around 30% of energy losses. However, the conversion from AC current to DC current represents losses also for hydrogen in terms to DC current from fuel cells being converted to AC current powering the motor. Fuel cells and electric motor efficiency is around 90-95%.

Additionally, to the above two points need to be taken into account as well: the cost of production for both types of vehicles and which of both choices can make better sales.

The bottom line is that both technologies are or can be greener than internal combustion engines. Fuel cells technology provides shorter fulling times and longer autonomy of vehicles on one charge in comparison to majority of electric cars in 2021. Most importantly hydrogen answers to some technical problems’ battery technology have when addressing alternative fuels in the segment of heavy vehicles. The batteries for BEVs are faced by other challenges: the lifecycle, reduced efficiency due to fast charging, recycling, expensive and somewhat limited resources, materials of the components, battery storage of electric energy produced by RES and more. Still the production of electric energy from RES and the BEVs are currently the cheaper options. Beside this the infrastructure is already set up for BEVs. If politicians want that hydrogen vehicles reach the comparable levels of economy of scale as the BEVs, more investments need to be made in the research to tackle the above-mentioned issues, infrastructure set up and production of vehicles.