Will hydrogen overtake batteries in the race for zero-emission cars?

(The Guardian, 13 Feb 2024) In part six of our series exploring myths surrounding EVs, we weigh up what will be the power of the future.

Hydrogen is a beguiling substance: the lightest element. When it reacts with oxygen it produces only water and releases abundant energy. The invisible gas looks like a clean fuel of the future. Some of the world’s top automotive executives are hoping it will dethrone the battery as the technology of choice for zero-emissions driving.

Our EV mythbusters series has looked at concerns ranging from car fires to battery mining, range anxiety to cost concerns and carbon footprints. Many critics of electric vehicles argue that we should not ditch petrol and diesel engines. This article asks: could hydrogen offer a third way and overtake the battery?

The claim

Many of the strongest claims for hydrogen’s role in the automotive world come from chief executives at the heart of the industry. Japan’s Toyota is the most vocal proponent of hydrogen, and its chair, Akio Toyoda, last month said he believed the share of battery cars would peak at 30%, with hydrogen and internal combustion engines making up the rest. Toyota’s Mirai is one of the only hydrogen-powered cars that is widely available, alongside the Nexo SUV from South Korea’s Hyundai.

External link

The Guardian, 13 Feb 2024: Will hydrogen overtake batteries in the race for zero-emission cars?