Business Insider claims that hydrogen-powered cars (FCEVs) are currently Tesla’s biggest threat in the electric vehicle arms-race. This is despite Elon Musk’s frequent mocking of the opposing technology, calling it ‘mind-bogglingly stupid’. Despite Musk’s scepticism, FCEVs have a vastly higher refuel speed. Battery EVs can take up to 12 hours to recharge, whereas FCEVs can be fully refuelled in 15 minutes.
Hydrogen-powered fuel cells do not act in the same way that, say, the battery of an EV such as a Tesla uses. Instead of simply storing the energy as a voltage, power from a hydrogen fuel cell is the result of electrochemical reactions between the hydrogen and oxygen abundant in the air. As a consequence, there are no harmful C02 emissions. The only by-product is water vapour.
Unfortunately, at present, current FCEVs are for more expensive than their BEV counterparts, but this is only because production is so low, with only thousands being made each year. If FCEVs grow in popularity they are likely to become far more accessible, with prices becoming competitive and appealing to consumers en masse.
The likelihood of driving schools around the world, let alone Thatcham, teaching in hydrogen powered cars is slim. Widespread EVs such as the Nissan Leaf seem far more likely to be used, but if the benefits of hydrogen power become appreciated and the current obstacles that curb its popularity are surmounted, who’s to say that the future of motoring will not be powered by hydrogen?