We’ve compared some facts about hydrogen cars with battery powered EVs, as well as petrol and diesel cars, to find out whether the hydrogen car could become a serious contender.
First of all, the pros. In addition to being emission free, a major advantage of hydrogen cars is that refuelling is comparable to filling up an LPG tank. That means, unlike with the relatively long charging time of battery powered EVs, with a hydrogen car, you can be back on the road within a few minutes. Most hydrogen cars also have a longer range than ‘regular’ EVs.
Despite these major advantages, there are currently few hydrogen early adopters, which means filling stations across much of Europe are pretty rare – making range anxiety a major issue. It’s the classic chicken and egg dilemma: few drivers equal few filling stations, and few filling stations mean that fewer people are likely to choose a hydrogen car. In addition, while there are more and more battery-powered EVs to choose from, there’s only a limited number of hydrogen models currently on the market, with the Hyundai Nexo and the Toyota Mirai being two of the most prominent.
Another issue is cost. As hydrogen is an emerging technology, residual values are still uncertain, which means that the monthly lease rate in many countries is relatively high compared to battery-powered EVs or ICE vehicles. That said, hydrogen cars are also eligible for a variety of tax benefits, which can make them a financially attractive alternative for lease drivers.
Some experts also think that hydrogen used with fuel cells is an ideal fit for the heavy duty transport sector (think of trucks, trains and ships) and industrial applications that require both heat and electricity.