Hydrogen fuel cell cars - Why are they failing compared to battery powered EV's?
Why Hydrogen powered cars will never live up to their once perceived potential.
Currently, there are three hydrogen powered cars that are publicly available right now: the Toyota Mirai, the Hyundai Nexo and the Honda Clarity.
These cars are more or less experiments, as to what is possible with this method of power delivery. Hydrogen is lighter than air and very pure. When it is used in a fuel cell, it is highly efficient and leaves no carbon emissions behind, just water! And best of all - It's virtually everywhere. Hydrogen can be found in natural resources such as water, plants and manure (which is a bit too natural if you ask me). Hydrogen can also be produced by separating water into its two primary elements—hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2). This process, known as electrolysis, passes an electrical current through the water to extract hydrogen. The electricity can be sourced from clean, renewable energy such as wind, solar, or hydro. Anyways, enough of a chemistry lesson - what are hydrogen powered cars like in the real world?
Hydrogen powered vehicles typically have a longer range than their battery powered counterparts. For comparison, the Tesla Model 3 has a range of 263 miles (423Kms) whereas the Toyota Mirai pips that number, at 300 miles (483Kms.) To top things off, according to Autocar, the Hyundai Nexo comes with a real-world range of 414 miles (666Kms) and filling up takes just five minutes, whereas electric charging can be an hour-long affair at the best of times.
Simply put, the need for new hydrogen facilities is not economically viable and and it potentially poses a huge safety risk - as hydrogen is extremely flammable as I'm sure you know already. The few models of hydrogen-fueled cars that are commercially available generally cost more than $70,000. Researchers are still tweaking the technology to produce and transport hydrogen fuel safely and cheaply.
If you want to by the Toyota Mirai right now in Australia... you can't. But if you were to import one from the USA, it would cost you US$57,500 (AU$76,897) so it is most definitely not cheap. While hydrogen is a cheaper fuel than gasoline on paper, the reality is, as of 2010, it is much more expensive, as the cost of the new infrastructure would need to be added on top of the price of the hydrogen itself.
Hydrogen powered vehicles were an optimistic thought when they were first perceived, and unfortunately they still are. As cool as it might be to power you car with hydrogen gas, I do not think that we'll be seeing many of them on our roads in the future.