The cars of tomorrow will be electric, but how will this electricity be stored? A big question to which two answers clash. Today, the most used solution in the automotive world are batteries. Often composed around a lithium alloy, they allow electricity to be stored over the long term and transmitted to the engine at the right time.
In order to address the disadvantages of battery cars, notably their charging time considered too long by some, several manufacturers are working on an alternative solution, fuel cells. The latter are filled with hydrogen and it is this which will produce electricity for the car.
The main advantage so-called hydrogen cars are able to recharge very quickly. Filling the battery only takes three to five minutes, like a gasoline car. But while this solution has serious advantages when it comes to charging, there is always the other side of the coin.
The yield and the cost are disturbing
In the case of hydrogen cars, there are two major bottlenecks in their development. As Alexander Vlaskamp, CEO of the German manufacturer Man, which specializes in heavy goods vehicles, explains very well, hydrogen vehicles have a much lower level of efficiency than battery cars.
The other concern concerns the production of this hydrogen. In fact, it is obtained by electrolysis, so electricity (in large quantities) must be used to produce hydrogen. It is therefore obvious that the production of electricity costs less than the production of hydrogen. Manufacturers, who are in a constant price war, therefore all have an interest in turning to battery-powered cars.
In a word, 'hydrogen' is not viable. It presents technical (yield) and economic (production costs) constraints which are discouraging all manufacturers one by one. The final nail in the coffin of hydrogen vehicles is that the infrastructure needed to recharge fuel cells is very rare today.
In France, despite the government's apparent desire to develop hydrogen in the country, there are a few dozen recharging stations. Refueling therefore amounts to a permanent headache and the question of autonomy is a source of immense stress.
L’hydrogen does not ;#8217;has no future?
If the automotive world as a whole shuns the arrival of hydrogen, this gas is not condemned for all that. The great advantage of hydrogen is that it can be used in all areas of industry. As Alexander Vlaskamp points out, heavy industry is impatiently awaiting the massive arrival of hydrogen in production lines.
Electric cars will not need hydrogen to run, but hundreds of parts inside the chassis could be built using this gas, which is abundant on earth.
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