What factors led to shift away from pursuing hydrogen-powered cars in favor of electric vehicles?

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What factors led to shift away from pursuing hydrogen-powered cars in favor of electric vehicles?

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Anonymous 0 Comments

Its questionable if hydrogen can work at scale even now, The only semi economic way to generate it is to break down gas and oil in an energy intense and pricy way. Which means to be a clean source the carbon produced must be controlled, which isn’t really any better than carbon capturing a fossil power plant. Then the hydrogen must be stored in bulky high pressure tanks and you need something similar for the pipework, which is no good for transport.

Its trapped in a worst of both worlds situation where it combines the worst features of clean energy from 10 years ago with the worst features of fossil fuel. And its not clear that there is a way forward. And its increasingly got to compete with clean sources that have their issues worked out and becoming very cheap.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Electricity is distributed everywhere. Hydrogen isn’t. This remains one of the biggest problem for hydrogen based transportation – lack of hydrogen distribution infrastructure. And this is not going to be cheap since hydrogen very likely has to be compressed and cooled to make it easy enough to transport in quantity.

The other issue is that hydrogen, at that volume, is going to be produced and hydrogen production (existing) requires energy. If countries have excess energy (say lots of cheap solar during the day), then it might make sense to utilize this for hydrogen production (aka green hydrogen). Otherwise the cheaper method is to generate it from natural gas.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s mostly about batteries becoming cheaper and electricity being more available / not needing to retrofit as much compared with hydrogen .

A hydrogen car is actually mostly an EV already, at least in the sense that it uses an electric motor to move the car. The main difference is where the power comes from – in an EV it’s a battery and in a hydrogen car it’s a fuel cell.

Hydrogen itself is still being looked at in cases where batteries don’t make sense. As an example, ships would be a more attractive use of hydrogen because batteries are still very expensive per unit energy and can be very dangerous if they catch fire. There’s also a very limited number of ports that the average shipping vessel ever docks at, so retrofitting wouldn’t be much of a problem either.

Anonymous 0 Comments

first off, hydrogen cars ARE electric vehicles. They just use hydrogen fuel cells instead of batteries, so there is a lot of overlap in technology.

after that, the problem is just that hydrogen is pretty hard to contain at scale. its the lightest and smallest element in the universe and has a nasty habit of [leaking through steel](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_embrittlement). But its not like hydrogen cars are conceptually dead, its just that the companies in charge see a more promising future in battery tech. With the added advantage that you can use batteries in other places hydrogen fuel cells arent practical, like phones and solar battery walls. This makes batteries a technology that cant fail, even if EVs do.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Hydrogen is small, so it can slip out of most materials so you need extra thickness on tanks and hoses which means more weight and less efficiency. Hydrogen is not very dense, so you have to compress it (it is really expensive to liquify, so gas it is). Hydrogen is also extremely flammable. Hydrogen is hard to move around or store because of these factors, we can’t use existing pipes or tanks or tanker truckers. We have plenty of water, which is a good source of hydrogen, but getting the hydrogen usually means cracking water through electricity, so while water is plentiful it actually takes nontrivial amounts of work to get the hydrogen.

There’s a lot of promising research that’s being done right now regarding using hydrogen as a fuel in the engine and ammonia as the transportation medium. Ammonia is cheap and easy to make and could be made at scale easily around the world. Ammonia can be stored in the same tanks as gasoline, and use the same piping as gasoline without too much work. The engine would crack the ammonia using a catalyst and then use the hydrogen directly.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Batteries are large and heavy for the amount of energy they can store. Hydrogen, as a compressed gas, is more energy dense (but the containers and fuel handling equipment are heavy). 20 years ago, it appeared that batteries would be too heavy and short range to be useful. Improvements to batteries, largely motivated by portable electronics, have led to much more capable and low cost batteries than the predictions of 20 years ago assumed.

Anonymous 0 Comments

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Anonymous 0 Comments

You got a lot of technical answers already and one conspiracy based answer. I’m going on a different track… Apathy.

Those with the finances to do the R&D were dragging their feet on both technologies because of the great cash cow that is ICE vehicles. Even companies like Toyota that were “going hard on Hydrogen” weren’t really spending all that much to try to bring it to fruition. I take it back, GM *did* produce an electric car, but they were too scared of falling behind financially against their competitors so they killed it (the government didn’t help in this regard either.)

Then along comes an upstart tech billionaire who decides he will do it. He has to choose between electric and hydrogen and went with electric. Huge surprise to all the other car companies, his company was wildly successful. So now the big car companies are jumping on the band wagon and hydrogen is left behind.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Practical electric cars seemed impossible with 1990s batteries. It doesn’t feel like it but in the last 30 years batteries have gotten massively better. Having better batteries made a convoluted hydrogen system seem less needed.

Anonymous 0 Comments

From what I’ve read, toyota is moving toward hydrogen and away from electric, so I don’t think it’s dead yet