Hydrogen cars are often in debate about dominating the road by replacing electric cars. Most enthusiasts wonder if Hydrogen-powered cars would really take over the future or if battery electric vehicles (BEVs) would not let the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) win the battle. It confuses most people interested in purchasing an electric vehicle, whether to choose a hydrogen car or an electric car to not regret in the future. To help you make an informed decision, we have covered the comparison of Hydrogen vs Electric cars based on various parameters such as efficiency, performance, driving range, environmental impact, and more.
Hydrogen and Electric cars are both environmental-friendly alternatives to traditional gasoline and diesel vehicles. Hydrogen cars utilize fuel cells that convert the hydrogen gas into electric current, powering the motor to run efficiently. In comparison, electric cars run on batteries charged by electrical grids. Electric cars are widely available and have a large number of users as compared to hydrogen cars. However, hydrogen cars are gradually becoming popular as you can quickly refuel them and get high energy to travel farther. Let’s dive deeper into how hydrogen and electric cars work.
Hydrogen cars or Hydrogen fuel cell electric cars consist of an electric motor driven by the electrochemical reaction, which happens when high-pressure hydrogen gas combines with oxygen and is fed to hydrogen fuel cells to produce electricity and water vapor. Complex than electric cars, hydrogen cars can be considered as small hydrogen-fuelled power stations. With hydrogen cars, you can travel for around 400 miles before the gas tank becomes empty.
A hydrogen car consists of a hydrogen tank that stores highly-pressurized hydrogen gas. The hydrogen gas is then released in such a way as to come in contact with the anode and cathode in the fuel cells. With the electrochemical reaction between the anode and cathode, the hydrogen molecules break into protons (water) and electrons (electricity) to power the car. The electricity produced is stored in a battery which passes down the current to the motor that moves the wheels. Also, refilling the hydrogen tank at a dedicated filling station would only take a few minutes.
Electric cars or Electric Vehicles (EVs), as the name suggests, work on electric current instead of gasoline, diesel, or petrol fuel. Electric cars use an electric motor driven by the electric current stored in the lithium-ion battery. The electrical energy powers up the electric motor and the entire power system of the car. The owner needs to charge a large battery pack located inside the EV by either plugging the car into the charging outlet or charging station.
The entire system is connected to the assembled battery, which provides power to the electric motor to create instant torque and acceleration to move the vehicle. The efficient system of an electric car also controls the energy flow between the battery and the motor. Additionally, an EV features regenerative braking, which regenerates energy from the wheels when the driver applies brakes and restores that energy in the battery. Battery-powered electric vehicles have gained remarkable popularity in the last few years.
Although both electric and hydrogen cars are environment-friendly, it will be essential to explore the advantages and disadvantages to deduce which car you should purchase in 2023. Here are the pros and cons of Hydrogen and Electric-powered cars.
Electric and hydrogen cars are considered the best options that produce zero emissions or fumes. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are powered by Li-Ion batteries, while hydrogen cars are fueled by hydrogen fuel cells. Still, there are several differences that can affect your decision to own an electric or hydrogen car. Let’s explore the comparison parameters to help you make an informed decision.
When it comes to electric vehicles or battery-operated cars, the driving range depends on which vehicle you purchase. The more expensive your electric vehicle is, the longer range you get. But with hydrogen cars, you will get a better driving range along with a quick refueling time. The driving range for EVs can range from 150 to 375 miles, while for hydrogen cars, it ranges from 400 to 600 miles depending on the tank size.
Hydrogen-powered cars are definitely at a disadvantage here due to the complex processes of converting hydrogen gas into electricity to operate the vehicle. In FCEVs, the energy is converted from chemical energy to electrical energy, leading to greater inefficiency with hydrogen vehicles. In comparison, BEVs or electric cars are quite an energy efficient, utilizing around 80% of the total energy to power the vehicle. Battery-powered electric vehicles are indeed the winner in terms of efficiency.
As hydrogen fuel cells can be 100% renewable and environmentally friendly, a hydrogen car is a good option. While driving the hydrogen car, it releases pure water vapor and filters out ultrafine dust from the atmosphere, leading to eco-friendliness. However, the consumption of lithium and cobalt-like materials results in environmental damage. Although electric cars don’t emit any fumes or cause air pollution, they can greatly impact the environment, as the manufacturing and disposal of EV batteries can lead to pollution and resource depletion. FCEVs have the upper hand here, as recycling hydrogen fuel cells is easy and cost-effective.
Hydrogen vehicles lack the required infrastructure or refueling stations. Hydrogen cars are more expensive than electric cars and have over 1000+ refueling stations globally as of 2023. However, you can purchase electric cars at a more reasonable price and find thousands of powering\charging stations for EVs globally. The sufficiency of electric car charging stations makes them the best choice for most enthusiasts.
Refueling a hydrogen-powered vehicle will only take 5 to 10 minutes to pump the high-pressure hydrogen gas into the tank. In comparison, you will have to wait patiently for 4 to 8 hours for an electric vehicle to get fully charged. Hence, hydrogen cars win the game in terms of refueling time.
In terms of performance, hydrogen vehicles take the lead as it offers performance twice or thrice the performance internal combustion engine offers. On the contrary, EVs offer good performance, but most owners feel that the performance it offers is not worth the time it takes to completely charge the batteries.
Hydrogen cars utilize hydrogen gas to move the wheels, and hydrogen gas, as you know, is highly inflammable in nature. However, the advanced designs and safety precautions can make driving hydrogen vehicles a little less risky. Electric cars use lithium-ion batteries that come with their own safety concerns and challenges. If exposed to fire, the li-ion batteries can pick up the flames. Although EVs come with a few risks, driving an electric car is safer than a hydrogen-powered one.
When we are talking about emissions, both hydrogen and electric cars do not produce carbon emissions directly from their exhausts. But a considerable amount of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is released during the manufacturing process of electric as well as hydrogen cars.
Electric cars are a little expensive, but the cost depends on the manufacturer and EV model you choose. The price of an electric car may vary from $45,000 to $80,000 and more based on the vehicle’s features, performance, and size. In comparison, hydrogen cars are way more expensive than electric cars. You can consider hydrogen cars like Hyundai Nexo SUV, which costs more than $60,000, and Toyota Mirai, which costs around $50,000.
As you know, it will be essential to first produce hydrogen gas, which runs the hydrogen-based vehicles. Most of the hydrogen used in hydrogen cars is created using the process of methane forming. That means hydrogen cars use energy twice when creating hydrogen gas and then using high-pressure hydrogen gas to fuel the vehicle. On the other hand, battery-powered electric vehicles (BEVs) use electrical energy directly from the grid to charge the batteries and power the vehicle. Hence, selecting between hydrogen or electric cars, the latter is a more efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable option.
As we have seen in the above comparison of hydrogen vs electric cars, hydrogen-fueled cars have many disadvantages, such as limited infrastructure, expensive, and unsafe. While electric cars are safer, less expensive, and have sufficient charging/fueling stations available, offering more convenience to the users or owners. There is a possibility that green hydrogen fuel cells could gain traction in the near future for commercial and industrial purposes. Still, hydrogen cars have no chance to replace electric cars in the upcoming years.
Hopefully, the above comparison of hydrogen vs electric cars will help you get a better idea of whether to purchase an EV or invest good fortune in FCEVs. In my opinion, electric cars are the perfect choice for enthusiasts that need a cleaner, cost-effective, energy-efficient, environmental-friendly, and low-emission option instead of a gasoline-powered vehicle. Of course, the ultimate choice will depend on your needs, preferences, and ideals. But, considering the mentioned parameters, you can choose wisely between electric cars and hydrogen cars.
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Yes, hydrogen cars are way better than electric cars in terms of zero harmful emissions, quick refueling, and longer driving range. However, hydrogen cars are quite expensive and inefficient with limited infrastructure, and therefore, electric cars are more convenient, reliable, and a better option to consider.
It costs around $6 to $10 to recharge the batteries of an electric vehicle, depending on the battery storing capacity and charging stations. In comparison, the cost of fueling the hydrogen gas tanks vary from $75 to $125 depending on the fuel tank size.
Many drawbacks, such as fewer refueling stations, expensive maintenance, and inefficient fuel cells, can lead you to determine that hydrogen cars will not take over the current market of EVs in the future.
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