Hydrogen fuel cells and batteries must overcome challenges to find success in clean transportation

February 4, 2016 0 By Stephen Vagus

Study highlights the challenges facing clean vehicles

Clean vehicles will have to overcome significant challenges in order to find mainstream success, according to a new study released by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. The study highlights the challenges these vehicles face, showing that they may have a long way to go before they can capture the favor of consumers throughout the world. The study notes that there are two prominent energy solutions for these vehicles: Hydrogen fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries.

Hydrogen fuel cells may become more valuable in the transportation space

According to the study, hydrogen fuel cells and batteries are likely to become very important in the transportation sector. Fuel cells are becoming more popular, as these energy systems can produce significant amounts of electrical power in an efficient manner. Batteries are losing favor as they require long charge times and have relatively limited operational range. The problem facing fuel cells, however, is the lack of a comprehensive hydrogen fuel infrastructure. Batteries have more infrastructure support, as charging stations are somewhat widely available.

Automakers have to overcome challenges in order to succeed in the clean transportation space

Hydrogen Fuel - StudySeveral automakers are planning to release fuel cell vehicles in the relatively near future. Toyota is one of the companies that has managed to find modest success with its new fuel cell vehicle. The automaker has managed to make a relatively inexpensive fuel cell vehicle, but without infrastructure support, its popularity is quite limited. Moreover, automakers will have to find ways to make hydrogen fuel cells less expensive or their vehicles will not find traction in prominent clean transportation markets.

Lack of hydrogen fuel stations may make battery electrics more popular among consumers

In the United States, there are only 14 hydrogen fuel stations open to the public, with 11 of these stations being located in California. The state has been working to develop more of these stations, but the effort has been slow going. Without the needed infrastructure, fuel cell vehicles will not find the success that automaker wish to see. Conventional electric vehicles, those using batteries instead of fuel cells, may be more attractive to consumers until a hydrogen fuel infrastructure is well established.