Hydrogen-powered vehicles may be a hard sellNovember 28, 2012
Hydrogen-powered vehicles to square off with battery electrics
Hydrogen transportation has been gaining a great deal of traction in recent months. Most of the world’s major automakers are heavily invested in the development of hydrogen-powered vehicles. Those that are not have committed much of their focus to lithium-ion batteries. Both batteries and fuel cells are now set to compete for the affections of drivers around the world, but automakers are likely to face a larger challenge in selling hydrogen-powered vehicles than those that use batteries.
Analysts see automakers committed to hydrogen fuel
According to analysts from Lux Research, a strategic analysis firm, most automakers believe that hydrogen-powered vehicles are a superior product to traditional vehicles. Vehicles equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell run off of electricity. Fuel cells are capable of producing large amounts of electrical power through the use of hydrogen fuel, making them roughly comparable to traditional vehicles in terms of performance. These vehicles do not, however, release any greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, the byproduct of a fuel cell’s operation is water vapor and oxygen.
Lack of infrastructure and knowledge could hurt hydrogen commercialization
Automakers face a significant challenge in bringing their hydrogen-powered vehicles to the market. Currently, there is not sufficient infrastructure to support the commercialization of these vehicles in ideal markets. Moreover, fuel cells are notoriously expensive because of their use of costly materials. Electric vehicles, by comparison, are much less expensive and have a slightly better established infrastructure, making consumer adoption easier. Lux Research analysts suggest that hydrogen fuel cells can still grab favor with consumers because of the familiarity drivers will have with actually operating hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Hydrogen transportation still unpopular with some consumers
Hydrogen transportation is still a controversial issue among consumers despite the enthusiasm being expressed by the auto industry. Many consumers claim that hydrogen fuel cells are nothing more than a ploy from oil companies to generate higher profits, while others are simply not convinced of the capabilities of hydrogen fuel cells. Nonetheless, the auto industry is committed to showing that hydrogen-powered vehicles can be a benefit to drivers in terms of money and also help improve the environment but reducing harmful emissions.