Recent news about hydrogen powered cars such as Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo prove readiness for a gas free future.
What about battery electric?
They will always be just a niche vehicle
There are several obstacles electric car makers promised to overcome but aren’t even close to making any real headway. Firstly its battery Technology. Even though breakthroughs in battery technology has been right around the corner for the past decade its still inadequate to compete with average car on the road. Think about drive range, fill up time and grid capacity. None of these would allow for it to scale nicely. Think about highway rest-stops filled with cars waiting to be charged. Neighbourhood electric grids would have to be dramatically be redone to support everyone driving an EV.
Another major problem is the cost of buying these vehicle and charging them. Even with dream subsidies for EV’s and electricity costs like in California the life of car savings will not equal buying a regular car for half the price. This is based on Net savings of $891/$810 per year. So far Tesla failed to robot mass produce vehicles to bring down the cost and up the production volume as much as he says it would.
The final major problem is that its not necessarily environmentally friendly with regards to how the energy is generated and what the batteries are made out of. The 6% battery degradation of range after 200 thousand miles of driving requires that the battery be replaced after about 5 years. Although Tesla provides a 8-year unlimited miles battery warranty their recycling process is not carbon free.
Hydrogen fuel-cell cars proclaim to have solved all those problems. The production cost of hydrogen has a much more likely chance of being extremely cheap because its the most common element in the universe. The range and fill up times are similar to internal combustion powered cars. The only tail pipe emission of a hydrogen car is water.
So why are they still so far behind EV’s in pricing and sales? For one, there’s no Elon Musk there to speed it along. Hydrogen requires a whole different creation and storage process. Although it is difficult and inefficient to try converting a regular to run on hydrogen fuel, redesigning a car around a fuel-cell is easy.