What’s All Fuss about Hydrogen-Fuelled Cars?

Entrepreneur Elon Musk (who founded SpaceX and now spearheads Tesla) recently called hydrogen fuel cells “silly”. Major car manufacturers such as Ford and General Motors back him up. But is it really the case? Are hydrogen-fuelled cars a waste of time?

The Pros

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Compared to traditional diesel- and petrol-powered models, hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles (also known as FCVs) don’t belch out chemicals that are dangerous to the environment as well as to people’s health. Rather, the only exhaust they produce is water vapor. So, by driving one of these cars, you can minimise your carbon footprint, contribute to lower pollutants in the air and help in reducing the greenhouse effect.

Contrary to popular opinion, FCVs aren’t an alternative to electric cars. Rather, they complement the batteries that power these vehicles, reducing the need for heavier batteries and allowing electric automobiles to be lighter while maintaining the same power.

You might not have heard about it, but several hydrogen cars are already being produced for consumer use like the Honda Clarity and the Toyota Mirai. Australians have already had a taste of FCVs with the Hyundai SUV ix35 Fuel Cell that was launched in the Land Down Under on April 1, 2015.

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The Cons

One big problem about FCVs is that hydrogen in its purest state is difficult to produce and store. Another is that hydrogen refuelling stations are currently rare, making it difficult for car owners to top up their fuel. However, innovations are currently being made to address these two issues, hopefully resolving them a few years from now.

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The Conclusion

You probably won’t see a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle driving down your street or parked in your neighbor’s drive way in the next few months or years. But you can be sure that FCVs are on their way to becoming a part of the mainstream auto industry and making a huge difference on the future of electric cars.

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