Opinion piece by Vikrant Singh Gautam
We are frequently asked whether a vehicle is a gasoline or diesel vehicle when purchasing one. The logic behind this is that you should choose a diesel vehicle if you travel frequently and over long distances, and a gasoline vehicle if you just travel locally or sometimes. How many of you agree with me? Well, I’d say that when it comes to long distances and heavy weights, gasoline engines actually fall short of quenching the spirit of diesel. However, as carbon emissions continue to rise, governments all over the world are switching from petroleum to the cleaner alternative of an electric vehicle, or EV.
But a novel concept is taking shape. How many of us are aware of hydrogen’s properties and have heard of it?
A battery, a DC/DC converter, an electric traction motor (FCEV), a fuel tank, a power electronics controller, a thermal system (cooling), and an electric transmission are just a few of the parts that make up a hydrogen vehicle. However, in my opinion, the fuel cell stack—a group of individual membrane electrodes that uses hydrogen from the fuel tank and oxygen from the environment to produce electricity—is the true star. The good news is that a hydrogen vehicle also has a high gas mileage, thus this sums up its basic design.
In truth, the majority of countries have disclosed their plans. For instance, the Indian government has stated that it wants to produce 5 MMT of hydrogen annually by 2030 as part of its hydrogen mission. For the first 10 years of a project’s lifecycle, the Inflation Reduction Act, which was signed into law in the USA in August 2022, offers tax credits of up to $3/kg to clean hydrogen producers, while Sustainable Capital provides financing for clean hydrogen businesses in the EU totaling €100 million. The investment is comparable for electric automobiles. One of the primary differences between hydrogen and electric vehicles, though, is the amount of time required for charging.
The extended range and quicker refueling times of hydrogen fuel cells over conventional batteries are their key advantages. Even with a 150 kW DC fast charger, it can take an electric car up to 15 minutes to fully charge, but hydrogen vehicles can be refueled in just a few minutes, giving them a driving range similar to that of a gasoline automobile.
However, there are a number of obstacles to the widespread use of hydrogen-powered vehicles, such as the fact that most hydrogen is produced using expensive and unsustainable fossil fuels, because hydrogen is a gas, high pressure storage is required, which can be expensive and technically challenging. Hydrogen vehicles are restricted not just by a lack of infrastructure for hydrogen fueling, but also by a lack of standards and laws that are both clear and consistent, as well as by a lack of public knowledge of the benefits they offer.
Despite these difficulties, many significant automakers are working to enhance hydrogen car technology. Toyota and Hyundai are the only manufacturers of hydrogen-powered cars at the moment, but General Motors and BMW intend to change that soon. So, should I go with an electric car or wait for hydrogen fuel cell cars (FCV) to lessen my carbon footprint?
Well, there are several psychological aspects that can affect whether someone chooses an electric car (EV) versus a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (FCV), including:
• How an individual perceives the environmental benefits of EVs and FCVs, such as their capacity to lower greenhouse gas emissions and their dependency on fossil fuels, may have an impact on their decision.
• The operating range of an EV is limited by its battery, which for some customers may cause “range anxiety.” FCVs do not have this issue due to their longer operational range, which is comparable to gasoline cars.
• Charging and refuelling infrastructure accessibility may be taken into consideration during the decision-making process. The infrastructure for EV charging is growing, but there aren’t as many hydrogen filling stations as there ought to be in many places.
• The price of EVs and FCVs, including the purchase price as well as fuel or charging expenses, might also have an impact on consumer decisions.
• In addition to the car’s model, the reputation and image of a particular automaker might affect the decision.
• One’s values and opinions regarding technology, environmental responsibility, and sustainability may also have an impact on whether they opt for an EV or an FCV.
These are only a few of the numerous elements that could affect a consumer’s choice between an EV and an FCV. In the end, the decision between the two will be based on personal tastes, requirements, and priorities.
So, is hydrogen the new name for diesel and electric the new word for gasoline?
Yes, but not always. Hydrogen and electricity are being introduced as alternate fuel sources for cars rather than diesel and gasoline.Even though electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have grown in popularity recently, ordinary gasoline and diesel cars remain the most often used form of personal transportation. The use of electric and hydrogen as alternatives is being driven by worries about sustainability, pollution, and energy independence. Both are promoted as being more efficient and cleaner than gasoline and diesel. However, each fuel type has a unique set of advantages and disadvantages, and it is not yet apparent how much gasoline and diesel will be replaced by them.
Opinion piece by Vikrant Singh Gautam
Vikrant is a business analyst in the electric vehicle and battery industry, where he focuses on assisting clients in streamlining their current operations in tandem with emerging electric vehicle trends. In the manufacturing, utilities, logistics, and oil industries, he has more than five years of experience creating and executing business process solutions. In addition to having a mechanical engineering degree from Raipur Institute of Technology, Raipur, he also has a master’s degree in business administration from the National Power Training Institute (Govt. of India), Faridabad.