Hydrogen's first steps

Why I am dismissive of the electric revolution.

For those of you who weren't already aware, the year is 2020. This means that next year will be 2021, and this also means the release of the new Toyota Mirai, a car which regrardless of its excellence or shoddiness, will probably immediately become an icon for the future. And this isn't even the first hydrogen development in the car industry. But I feel this is probably a quite highly anticipated one. And the reason for this I believe is that not only are its stats very impressive, but its design is a very promising one, and it has quite quickly rallied the attention of the media. So already it's taken off.

Now with this car comes a lot of questions.......like for a start, why? Why are Toyota releasing a car that with due respect is far too ahead of its time, and as a result will only be available for ownership by a rather small minority as things stand. Well, I have managed to muster the willpower to track down a possible answer, not even using extensive research and multiple cups of tea, but by taking a peek back to 2012, when Tesla decided to introduce us to the Model S.

Now I guarantee you are not following with that little theory, but listen up. This explains my reasoning for mentioning the year being 2020 back at the start. Because even today the world remains widely under equipped for the running and maintainenceof electric car, and so imagine eight years ago when the Model S was released. And yet look where they are today. I think we are seeing a fairly similar repeat here with the birth of hydrogen. So my thinking is that Toyota releasing the Mirai is as such, a first step, into the world of hydrogen. To be honest I think Toyota never intended on heavily investing themselves into the EV market anyway, which is why they have gone full on with hybrids until like me, people start to expand into hydrogen aswell. And I reckon they're right in doing so because as far as my studies in science class have shown the hydrogen path seems a more beneficial one, despite like electricity, is yet to have a fully non-emission method of production. Take a look at the Mirai for example.

'The Mirai's stats are bound to make the car one of great anticipation'

One of electricity's greatest doubts is the 'refuelling', or more fittingly charging time, but momentous work has gone into bringing the length of time required down as time has gone by. This progress is natural and was very much expected. But much easier and quicker progress has been made with elec's greatest current rival, and already fefuelling the Mirai is promised to be no more than a brief five minutes. And that's not the only pro among the cons.

This short space of time provides the Mirai driver with an abundance of range too. 400 miles of it in fact. Which as many of us are already aware, is much better than that of the average electric car (the global EV average is yet to surpass even 200 miles). Although in fairness hydrogen cars have less of a model range to make up a lower average.

Now another area of attraction to this car which already gives great hope to this age of car development is its superb design. The Mirai is a slim, sleek and stylish coupé that understandably is gonna become a fairly desirable asset if/when this hydrogen era gets into its stride. It gives good hope that this whole thing might suggest that the likes of Toyota may go from this before hydrogen:

Not lovely!

Not lovely!

To this with hydrogen:

Lovely!

Lovely!

Now obviously there will be many of you as always, will question my evaluations and judgement. But that is perfectly justifiable when we are messing around in what remains uncharted territory. And so I will end on my one concern, there may be a bit of a sub-conscious schism within the car community:

My intriguing vocabulary ladies and gentlemen

My intriguing vocabulary ladies and gentlemen

And this could lead us into a whole new world of fake news and doubt for the future of cars, so don't do that people. Don't let the environmentalists tear us apart!

Anyway, with that said, I will say toodle pip, happy in the knowledge that I get sit and place my bet, before watching this all play out. Who will persist, electricity or hydrogen?

Thank you for reading as always, you are very honourable people. Good day.

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Comments (47)

  • Hydrogen will the be the main powerplant for cars in say 40 years, apart from a few electric and maybe petrol cars.

    At the moment hydrogen is limited in the refuelling process, however i would rather have a hydrogen than an electric since they have too many problems i.e. heavy, CO2 from lithium extraction and dumping dead batteries.

    Who knows, batteries could become lighter, faster to charge and recycable but for now...

    Lets invest in hydrogen

      25 days ago
  • The current most commonly used methods of making hydrogen is far from a “green” process and emits loads of CO2. If you make hydrogen using electrolysis from renewable electricity, you are effectively converting electricity to hydrogen which is then effectively a containment and transport medium prior to a hydrogen fuel cell converting it back into electricity. That hydrogen then has to compressed or liquified transported and/or stored. Thanks to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, loads of energy is lost in this process. If you use the same renewable electricity to directly charge the battery of a BEV, it will be around 2.5 times as energy efficient as a HFCV. Multiply that by the global car fleet and that’s a BIG difference in energy requirements to do the exact same job. And then you have to build a brand new manufacturing and distribution network from scratch at a cost of trillions of dollars before people would adopt HFCVs. So why would you do it? This is why Elon Musk refers to them as “fool cells”. The future will be the next generation of batteries. The moment you can fast charge a BEV then hydrogen loses its only real advantage.

      24 days ago
    • Very logical, but isn't electricity production also still very uneconomical aswell. Wouldnt we need to find a solution to that problem in either hydrogens case or electricitys case before we can ever fully invest our future into it?

        24 days ago
    • Using hydrogen to “transport” electricity, no matter how efficiently you generate the electricity, will always be 2-3 times less efficient as using the same electricity to charge a battery. You cannot overcome the 2nd Law of...

      Read more
        24 days ago
  • There is simply no way for hydrogen to catch up to BEVs.

    A HFCEV is hideously complex compared to a BEV which is guaranteed to keep the cost of the car higher. Which is what kills it for light vehicles.

    Round trip efficiency of HFCEVs is currently around 20% with no hope of getting better than 33% meaning cost per mile will always be higher for HFCEVs, which is what kills it for heavy duty commercial vehicles.

    Hydrogen has already lost the range game due to limits on the tanks. 400 miles is about it for H2 and there are already BEVs with better range on the road. Further, the same year the next Mirai is coming out, 500+ mile range BEVs are arriving as well. This is a range no practice hydrogen car can match.

    Hydrogen’s one advantage, charge time, is an advantage that is eroding daily. Tesla’s new 4680 cells will offer recharge times in the 20 minute range. 400 miles added while you eat lunch means you spend less time setting up a charge than you would refueling a hydrogen car.

    We are in a very different place than we were back in 2012 when there were no real alternatives ICEVs. Then EVs were the only non-fossil game in town. Now any newcomer like hydrogen will have to offer something unique in order to have a chance and hydrogen simply has nothing special to offer.

      23 days ago
    • Oh wow, why is the range limited to about 400?

        22 days ago
    • Thank Gawd someone else chimed in to end the HFCV insanity. Elon Musk refers to them as “fool cells” for good reason. They are the Betamax and Laserdisc of EVs. They’re dumb, going nowhere, and I cannot believe that governments are still...

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        22 days ago
  • The hold up is complicated. Yes hydrogen makes more sense long-term. Right now no because infrastructure AND production. Hydrogen production is not clean or easy. To overcome these two hurdles will take massive investment. EV is now. It’s early and improving.

    Personally I want to see a mix of both hydrogen and EV as well as any future technology that gets developed. Always more than one way to skin a cat.

      25 days ago
    • You know what, thats a brilliant viewpoint. Why waste the mass investment if something better comes along. Utilise both and reduce the pressure on the pair in the process.

        25 days ago
    • How does hydrogen make sense long term? All of my own investigations indicate otherwise.

        23 days ago
  • If Toyota wastes its R&D budget on uneconomical, nonsense like this, while not rolling out compelling EVs, then they are most likely to shrivel into faint shadow of their current size, by 2035. Will probably be bought at a fire-sale price, or merged into another company, by the State, to preserve what jobs they can.

      21 days ago
    • The Japanese manufacturers are on the HFCV bandwagon because of huge Japanese Government subsidies to do so. I have no idea why their government is backing this loser, but the car companies are just taking their money. Even Toyota has...

      Read more
        21 days ago

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