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Hydrogen Fuel Cells vs Batteries: Which is Better?

Recent researches compare hydrogen and battery-powered e-cars in terms of energy efficiency and cost effectiveness.

The study “Automotive Industry 2035 – Forecasts for the Future” examines in detail whether battery-powered or hydrogen-powered electric vehicles will prevail in the future.

The researchers have come to conclusion that in spite of evident advantages of hydrogen fuel cell e-cars (range, fast refueling, no heavy battery on board), there is one decisive disadvantage: they are comparatively inefficient – both in terms of efficiency and cost.

Dietmar Voggenreiter, head of the study resumes that hydrogen could be used only in niches, trucks and buses, over long distances. The weight, range and charging time of the battery matter here: it grows very much with increasing capacity, making batteries uninteresting even for trucks. Besides, existing truck filling stations could be converted to a hydrogen filling station network.

For consumers, hydrogen e-cars will be increasingly more expensive to drive than BEVs, both in terms of purchase and operation. Hydrogen powered vehicles require twice as much primary energy, and it will be reflected in consumer prices.

Today drivers pay around €9-12 per 100 km (62 mi) for hydrogen-powered cars, but only €2-7/100 km (depending on electricity prices in different countries) for battery-powered vehicles, depending on mobility habits.

Nonetheless, some automakers continue to explore fuel cell technology. Toyota, for example, launches the second-gen Mirai (pictured). Mercedes-Benz has the GLC F-Cell SUV. Audi has announced a small-scale hydrogen-powered vehicle for 2021. 

Source: Volkswagen Newsroom

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