If Tesla made a working hydrogen powered car design, that mechanically more or less works the same as a gasoline one: why haven’t we fully embraced this technology?

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I was told by a friend that Tesla made a working hydrogen powered car design and then sold it to shell why isn’t there more on this?

In: Technology

Tesla didnt make that. It has been a thing for a long time. And there are a few reasons. It is expensive to make new tech when we have millions of cars that work. We would need new gas stations everywhere. Hydrogen is one of the most combustible things

Fuel cells and electrolysis are not efficient. You end up with an efficiency between 25-50% from electricity to movement to. If you use an ICE you are at 12-30% at best.

Hydrogen powered cars exist and you can get [one right now if you want.](https://www.androidpit.com/best-hydrogen-powered-cars) Trouble is they’re expensive (due largely to a lack of production facilities of sufficient scale) and there’s insufficient infrastructure (filling stations, manufacturing and distribution facilities) in the vast majority of the country (US). There’s also limited support for repair and maintenance. Some say they are the wave of the future, and that may be true, but issues of mass production/affordability and fueling stations need to be addressed. It’s a bit if a chicken and egg problem – until there’s enough demand to justify large-scale production and building of fueling stations, not enough hydrogen powered vehicles will be built. But until enough vehicles are sold (or at least wanted), no one will invest in large scale factories and fueling stations. And the cars will remain expensive until large scale factories are built, suppressing demand due to high prices. But you can help kick things off by buying one the next time you get a new car.

u/MiscalculatedRisk has a great comment. The one thing I would add to it is that you need to be aware of people who are “blowing sunshine up your ass”. I constantly hear about how “big oil killed the electric car”, or how we have working “flying cars” that some company is just waiting to release. Sunshine… meet butt. There is a huge difference between a technology that you can barely get to work properly by taking on huge inconvenience and risks, and something that consumers would happily use on a daily basis.

The best example of this I can think of is if I released a portable record player that hooks up to your phone. I create a USB connection to power an entire turntable and then you can listen to your favorite vynil records on the go! Of course using this for even five minutes is going to use up your phone’s entire battery, and if you actually try to move the record player at all then it will jump like crazy and you won’t be able to hear a friggin thing, AND it weighs a bloody ton. It is impractical, it is stupid, no one would putup with the drawbacks – but it is possible. When an idea isn’t so obviously stupid to the general public (though it might be to an expert in the field) people are often suckered in by marketing promises from people who are trying to sell you on something or push an agenda.

In this case the fuel cell folks are not necessarily bad people trying to snooker you. But they are over-selling the promise of their technology hoping to get research funding as a result.

The concept of hydrogen cars is often misunderstood

When people talk about hydrogen cars it is almost exclusively in terms of hydrogen fuel cells – i.e. the car is electric and the hydrogen (and air) is producing the electricity to power the car

Hydrogen combustion is volatile, hard to control, and there is not much point to it as you require a lot of energy to produce the hydrogen. Simply exploding it is not an efficient use of the energy you have spent producing it – however would be a decent alternative if we had an easy source of hydrogen and a way to control it as well as we can control fossil fuels (ignition timing, pressure etc)