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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Can hydrogen fuel-cell autos compete with EVs? Nope.

Yesterday, two news items on the future of automobiles crossed my (Twitter) radar screen. One concerned Toyota's announcement that it intends to nearly phase out gasoline-powered autos entirely by 2050 and to replace them with hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles; the other, Volkswagen saying it hopes to recover from the Diesel Debacle by focusing on electric vehicles (EVs).

I passed both items on to my Facebook group, Climate Change-Global Warming Info, and an old friend pointed me to this analysis comparing prospects for the two classes of vehicle, which concludes that EVs are far superior.  It seems very well reasoned to me.

Much of the argument is based on the difference in infrastructure (think: many hundreds of billions of dollars) required.  I have an EV (see 'Take that, Exxon!', and I've been very impressed with the simplicity of owning it.  We installed an extra regular 110-volt outlet in our garage and just plug the car into it at night--what could be simpler?  In fact, it's even easier, not to mention cheaper, than stopping at a gas station.

Based on that experience, I think the argument that EVs will prevail is very compelling.


  1. The problem with the private auto is not what it burns, but the sprawl that it generates.

    1. Not really. The same sprawl, with transportation powered by wind and solar via EVs, would create plenty of problems, but it wouldn't threaten the habitability of the planet.

    2. Even people living in cities like personal transportation. High-density living is a good goal, but it's unlikely to reverse the trend towards increasing car ownership globally.

  2. One thing that hydrogen addresses is energy storage. It's not clear to me how it will fit into the array of storage technologies. It may have a significant role.