Could Hydrogen-Powered-Vehicles be the future?

Vehicle History Expert Cartell.ie is looking at hydrogen-powered-vehicles. As readers will know we regularly feature blogs on electric vehicles (EVs) including Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) and autonomous vehicles which are usually reliant on electric energy. We even featured in a recent RTÉ Prime Time programme discussing autonomous vehicles. We’re aware the market has been relatively reluctant to switch to EVs in big numbers. But, with news that Google, Apple and Virgin are all looking to enter the EV autonomous vehicle space there is every likelihood these machines will take off. However, what if the future lay elsewhere – in a different alternative fuel? Hydrogen has been mooted as fuel for road-going vehicles for some time. The concerns centre principally around its safety: it can leak for instance.

Business man hand working with select new car concept

Now Kia has called for the UK Government to invest more in Hydrogen infrastructure. The call was reported in Auto Express where it is stated “a new report concluded there could be as many as 1.6 million hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) on Britain’s roads by 2030.” The article says the Centre for Future Studies found that in less than 15 years the UK car market could see more than 300,000 hydrogen cars sold each year, supported by 1,150 refuelling sites. This is a huge number of vehicles. While EV commentators have signalled a huge expected growth in EV use before the year 2030 these figures for hydrogen fuels signal hydrogen will be a serious competitor. UC Davis professor of environmental science Joan Ogden is quoted as saying:

Hydrogen fuel cell cars offer consumer value similar or superior to today’s gasoline cars. The technology readily enables large vehicle size, a driving range of 300 to 400 miles, and a fast refueling time of three to five minutes.”

Furthermore the technology is ready: “The question isn’t whether fuel cell vehicles are technically ready: They are” said Ogden.

For Ireland -which is slowly rolling out EV infrastructure- the news that hydrogen is set to become this prominent in the market place in the near future is bound to have policy-makers on red alert.