Alternative fuel cell vehicles are all the rage lately, with Honda joining the fray as early as 2017 with the Clarity. For people who are socially and environmentally conscious, hydrogen cars in theory, make a ton of sense. After all it’s the most abundant element on planet Earth and it’s clean and renewable. But just how clean are these futuristic cars really? Let’s take a look with our primer on hydrogen car facts, and take a look at just why hydrogen cars aren’t really a viable solution just yet.
There are several hydrogen car facts that have quite a bit of misinformation spread about them. Let’s take a look at some of the more common hydrogen car myths below and explain the technology behind the fuel cell vehicles.
Top hydrogen car facts
It’s not as clean as you may think – Primarily among the most common hydrogen car myths is that the carbon footprint is indeed much smaller than traditional fossil fuels. For most people this is fairly obvious right? You are replacing your vehicle that emits noxious fuel emissions and replacing it with one that emits water. Easy to figure out right? Not so fast.
According to the recent reports from the Department of Energy hydrogen vehicles still cost nearly 14 dollars or upwards of five times as much as today’s fuel equivalent. Not only that but many experts state that alternative fuel cell vehicles are over 10 times more carbon footprint intensive than their fossil fuel counterparts at this time. When you break these figures down into per mile intervals, the numbers get even worse.
Most reports put hydrogen cars costing twice as much per mile as gasoline engines and five times as costly as some mainstream electric vehicles. Ouch.
In theory hydrogen car facts make them cleaner than gasoline combustion vehicles, but reality is far different. Long story short it might be futuristic and promising but the carbon footprint behind the wheel is still there and today’s economies of scale just haven’t caught up with the technology.
Infrastructure isn’t there – The biggest point in hydrogen car facts, there’s just not enough stations to make the technology all that viable. Unless you happen to live in Southern California, hydrogen stations aren’t widespread enough to make sense.
One of the undeniable hydrogen car facts is that stations aren’t nearly as widespread as those for gasoline or charging stations for electric vehicles. According to the Department of Energy, there’s 29 fueling stations across the entire country.
Hydrogen isn’t exactly safe – Anyone who has ever seen news clippings or old film stock of the Hindenburg knows what hydrogen can do. Although Toyota and Honda take extreme measures to test the safety of their fuel cells, it’s something to keep in mind. Fuel cells are exposed to extreme conditions to ensure that they will never erupt, including field tests where they shoot at the tanks themselves.
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