Clean Transportation is a Difficult ProblemJune 7, 2014
The challenges facing clean transportation are much more complicated than which clean vehicle is best
The debate surrounding the value of fuel cell vehicles and their potential in a major market has been raging for several years now. Many people believe that fuel cells are simple not viable for transportation purposes. Lithium-ion batteries are generally considered to be ideal for clean vehicles, but battery technology is not well suited for the needs of most drivers. Despite the apparent opposition from consumers, much of the auto industry has become somewhat infatuated with fuel cells, believing that these energy systems will power the future of transportation.
Fuel cells have many positive aspects, but they also have serious drawbacks. Firstly, fuel cells are notoriously expensive. These energy systems make use of platinum and other costly materials that make fuel cells somewhat unattractive from an economical standpoint. The high cost of these energy systems directly effects the cost of the vehicles using them. While fuel cells are generally more efficient from a mileage standpoint than batteries, allowing vehicles to operate for longer periods of time, fuel cell vehicles do not have infrastructure support. The lack of fuel stations further detract from the attractiveness of fuel cell vehicles.
Battery electric vehicles are somewhat more attractive, because they are generally less expensive than fuel cell vehicles. Batteries have lower mileage than fuel cells and they take longer to charge. These vehicles have much more infrastructure support than their fuel cell counterparts, however, and these vehicles have had strong government support for several years. The efficiency issues make battery electrics somewhat unpopular, but recent advances in technology have helped make batteries more viable for transportation purposes.
When it comes to clean transportation, many people argue over which type of electric vehicle is better than the other, but the real issue has to do with whether clean transportation will become a reality or not. Regardless of what type of vehicle is best for transportation, if efforts are not made to make transportation as a whole more environmentally friendly, the argument may be a moot issue. Government support has been lacking when it comes to the promotion of clean vehicles. While governments have been showing more support for clean transportation recently, it could be years before clean vehicles have any serious presence in the global market.