How Do Electric and Hydrogen Cars work?
It's crucial to understand how each technology works before comparing electric and hydrogen cars.
Instead of fuel combusting to produce energy for an engine, an electric car uses a lithium-ion battery to supply electricity to a motor, which then rotates the wheels and powers other automotive components. An electric car is recharged by plugging into the power grid, similar to how a phone or computer is recharged when it runs out of gas.
Hydrogen cars also include an electric motor powered by hydrogen fuel cells, which allow hydrogen to combine with oxygen to produce energy and water vapor chemically. The engine is powered by electricity, while the water vapor is harmlessly released into the atmosphere. Fuel cell electric vehicles, commonly known as hydrogen fuel cell automobiles, are refueled with hydrogen at particular service stations with pressurized natural gas tanks.
The Pros and Cons Of Hydrogen And Electric Cars
Hydrogen Cars Vs Electric Cars: Driving Range
The Hyundai Nexo has a range of about 320 miles (540 kilometers), which is comparable to the best-in-class electric Tesla Model S. Nonetheless, estimating the driving range of these vehicles is difficult. Hydrogen cars have longer-ranged and refueling periods. For example, the Hyundai Nexo can travel 415 miles on a single charge and takes only five-six minutes to fill up, as opposed to the hours it can take to charge an electric vehicle. However, because there are no models at the cheap end of the market, hydrogen-powered vehicles remain expensive to purchase. However, because hydrogen cars' energy storage is closely packed, they can typically go longer distances. While most fully electric vehicles have a range of 100-200 miles on a single charge, hydrogen vehicles have a range of 300 miles.
Winner: Hydrogen Cars
Hydrogen Cars Vs Electric Cars: Refueling Stations Availability
Hydrogen fuel cell cars are not only more expensive than many electric cars, but they also have far less refueled infrastructure, with just about 400 hydrogen refueling stations worldwide (including private ones). This lack of infrastructure is now a major disadvantage for hydrogen-powered vehicles, whereas electric vehicles already have thousands of charging stations throughout the world.
Winner: Electric Cars
Hydrogen Cars Vs Electric Cars: Refueling Time
The time it takes to pump hydrogen into the tank is far more intriguing than the time it takes to charge an electric car (5 to 10 minutes, just like any other petrol automobile). While Tesla's fast chargers (with 120 kW) can charge batteries to 80 percent capacity in half an hour, the BMW i3 or Nissan Leaf can take 4 or 8 hours to fully charge, respectively. Finally, the time it takes for electric automobiles to charge is obviously dependent on the charging station and the type of charging connector used. But, whatever the combination, the hydrogen automobile is clearly the winner, because 1 kilogram of hydrogen stores 235 times the energy of 1 kilogram of lithium-ion batteries.
Winner: Hydrogen Cars
Hydrogen Cars Vs Electric Cars: Safety
Due to the highly flammable nature of hydrogen gas, which burns in air at concentrations ranging from 4 to 75 percent, safety has been a major problem for hydrogen fuel cells. Many of these potential safety concerns, however, have been addressed by technical advancements.
Electric batteries have their own set of safety problems and issues. Allowing lithium-ion batteries to overheat or overcharge might result in damage. Furthermore, should a fire occur, the batteries may ignite and be difficult to extinguish because the fire fuel is not evacuated away as it is with hydrogen?
Hydrogen and electric cars, like any other fuel source, face similar safety concerns.
Hydrogen Cars Vs Electric Cars: Cost Of Ownership
Electric vehicles can be costly to purchase, depending on the type and manufacturer, even with government subsidies to assist consumers and lower prices. In addition to the vehicle's purchase price, owners may be required to pay a monthly battery rental fee. As previously said, the more expensive a model is, the wider the range it provides. While some 'cheap' versions are available for under 21,000 USD, they do not compare to the highest end of the market (roughly 69,000 USD.) The upfront expenditures are offset slightly by the cost of charging, which is roughly 37 USD to fully recharge a 100kWh battery on a UK roadside charger and around 12 USD at home.
Hydrogen vehicles are more expensive than electric vehicles, and because there are presently no budget options available, the cost of a new hydrogen vehicle is comparable to that of a high-end electric vehicle. Refueling is also more expensive, costing roughly 55-80 USD for a full tank.
Winner: Electric Cars
Will Hydrogen Cars Overtake Electric Cars?
Electric vehicles appear to have the upper hand over hydrogen fuel cell vehicles at the moment, despite the fact that hydrogen is still a developing technology. Hydrogen, on the other hand, maybe able to catch up to electric vehicles with enough time and effort. However, infrastructure investment to support hydrogen fuel cell drivers will be required.
Rather than focusing on electric vs. hydrogen cars, regard them as part of a common environment. While the creation of a lithium-ion battery consumes a lot of energy, hydrogen synthesis has the potential to be far more energy-efficient. The crucial word here is potential. All green developments are good news for the environment, as both hydrogen automobiles and electric vehicles are less polluting than gasoline and diesel.
Hydrogen Cars Vs Electric Cars: Which Is More Sustainable?
Despite the advantages noted above, the majority of hydrogen produced today comes through the methane reforming process. Because of the carbon monoxide and dioxide produced in the process, hydrogen-powered vehicles lose all of their potential as a solution to combat climate change. Even if the process of methane cracking is improved, it is unlikely to be a long-term solution.
However, as technology advances, it is possible that the water electrolysis method for obtaining hydrogen can be improved and expanded. Because hydrogen cars require energy twice (to produce hydrogen and then use it to power vehicles), whereas electric cars can use energy directly from the grid, this is a significant argument in favor of electric automobiles.
There are several fundamental differences between hydrogen and electric vehicles, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. There is more work to be done on hydrogen automobiles and electric vehicles. While the industry strives to reduce the carbon footprint of electric batteries and hydrogen becomes more widely available, particularly in terms of charging stations, hybrid technology could be a viable alternative. Renault, once again, has recognized this potential: the New Clio, New Captur, and New Mégane.
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