By 2050 Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will comprise only 1 percent of carsJune 16, 2021
As the cost of lithium-ion batteries continues to fall, battery electric cars rise in appeal.
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will comprise only 1 percent of all passenger cars by 2050, said Australian Energy Minister Angus Taylor citing a BloombergNEF report. He pointed to the falling cost of lithium-ion batteries to explain why battery electric vehicles have greater appeal compared to more expensive H2 fuel cells.
Taylor feels that the price trends will mean H2 passenger cars simply won’t compete with battery electric.
Of all the forms of electric vehicle, plug-in hybrids are currently Taylor’s top choice at the moment. However, according to BloombergNEF, those will represent little more than a flash in the pan in the bigger picture of low-emission vehicles. The report’s outlook on H2 powered passenger vehicles hasn’t come as a surprise to many in the industry. In fact, it is only the latest in a long line of studies predicting similar outcomes.
The number of studies supporting the future of hydrogen fuel passenger vehicles is growing at a much slower rate than those saying that the future of passenger cars powered by H2 will be limited. Toyota has continued developing and producing its vehicle in the form of the Mirai sedan. That automaker continues to insist that H2 has a bright future in passenger cars. However, most other major automakers have backed out of that category, focusing H2 on long-haul trucks, heavy duty vehicles and industry.
The report indicated that battery electric vehicles are more affordable than hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
“Direct electrification via batteries is the most economically attractive and efficient approach to decarbonising road transport and should be pursued wherever possible,” said the report. “Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can help fill the small gaps left by electrification in some heavy vehicles, in regions or duty cycles where batteries struggle.”
The number of drivers behind the wheel of fuel cell cars is negligible, according to the report. However, the tech could make up 16 percent of buses and 10 percent of heavy commercial vehicles by 2050. Those clearly represent much more meaningful figures.
The report pointed to those areas as the future of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. On the other hand, it has a much bleaker view of what’s to come for plug-in hybrids, which it insisted will be a passing fad, and that this is good news because the battery in those vehicles doesn’t tend to be used all that frequently.
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I wanted to provide a slight counterpoint to the article that the fully electric car will dominate the market in 2050. Most EVs will be powered by lithium batteries. Where lithium prices might decline for the moment, it has a floor. Similarly other materials used in the battery like cobalt, nickel, and platinum also have a floor.( Mostly because it cost money to get materials out of the ground or ocean). Thus the cost of EVs has a floor. I base my assumption on the fact that as the demand for these elements increases, the supply will start to dewindel because the sources will have a harder time getting permits, getting cross border agreements, and will have more difficulty mining. Fuel Cells require the same materials so there will be a battle over the materials from automakers, wind/solar farms, marine, etc. At the end prices should normalize based on the kg of material required. Where the average family might only commute less than 50 miles per day, in the US they will want the flexibility to go on road trips. Hydrogen provides less anxiety and more of the normal refueling practices we currently use. I would bet the kg of elements required for a fuel cell and few batteries for a Hydrogen power car is less than a full-battery powered EV. Also I think when automakers realize that they can advertise a 1000 mile range F-150 or Expedition, they will have more demand than they can handle.
The major problems with lithium power is lack of range, accompanied by difficulty with recycling, and supply problems with lithium.We all are aware of the frequent lithium fires, in computers and vehicles.
Refuelling lithium on a motorway could prove a nightmare, compared with the ease and speed of supply with a pump.Think of the car park size required on busy days, for recharging.
A marked contrast with Green Hydrogen,easily produced with electrolysis and delivered to the motorists vehicle. Safer than petrol, and no pollution.Britain is at the forefront of hydrolyser
technology, and are produced by several UK companies ,possibly led by ITM
I believe that lithium is ideal for local motor trips, but hopeless for distant destinations
Fuel cell technology has been improved for over 100 years and is safe and effective.
Mineable lithium reserves world wide will never replace gasoline, simply not enough. Hydrogen is a better energy resource We have mastered the science for a sustainable future using hydrogen.
Endless enery and brighter future is now in reach.
Energy for the world.
“Taylor feels that the price trends will mean H2 passenger cars simply won’t compete with battery electric.”
Rubbish: Newton’s Second Law (F=MA) (the mass of lithium ion batteries Vs. the mass of H2 fuel cells); and “opportunity costs” of refueling time for the lithium ion batteries Vs. the refueling time for H2 fuel cells and HFCEV will win in the marketplace.
And I too really appreciate your journalism, thanks.
Both fuel cell and battery operated cars are available. What isn’t well known to the general public is how they are produced, the carbon footprint involved and the sustainability of each fuel source. Hydrogen is the most plentiful element in the universe, while lithium is a non-renewable resource. People are enamored with the idea of electric powered vehicles, but if we have learned anything from our dependence on another non-renewable energy source we will shift to fuel cell vehicles eventually (within 10-15 years).