I was wondering what the general thoughts on hydrogen cars becoming the future of motoring? My thoughts on this are why would the car companies be chucking bucket loads of cash at developing electric models and why are none of the big forecourt owners investing in hydrogen filling facilities? Is it because the technology is not ready for mass roll outs or is it a financial thing? I can see it serving a use for the commercial sector , but not if you can’t fill up anywhere, the last I heard was there are less than 20 places in the Uk that you can fill up with hydrogen, so what are your thoughts?
This kind of thread keeps appearing in various social media outlets. Usually because the attraction of a clean steam exhaust pipe, linked to fast filling, resonates with people. People who have done little research before submitting their questions. But a deeper investigation always shows that for use in the domestic car fleet it's a pipe dream that has no financial or logistic basis to support the idea. And this isn't the usual chicken/egg issue either. No serious investment source will consider dropping £shedloads to install even a token network of filling stations after they have done a modicum of research and due diligence. And no serious OEM will invest £shedloads in producing cars without that happening. Non starter.
Even in long-distance goods transport it's a long way from ideal and already truck manufacturers are looking more favourably at battery swaps. When used in depot-to-depot routes that makes more sense, and can turn a vehicle around in minutes. Meanwhile, EV vans and trucks with 200 miles range can easily carry out normal local deliveries and fleet managers are already well aware of their normal daily mileages and can procure vehicles to operate within those needs. Overnight charging at the depot becoming the norm.
There may be a valid use in aviation and shipping of course. But in the long run I fully expect governments to begin to water down their zero-emission zeal and find a way to fudge this aspect to allow sustainably produced biofuel to continue to be used for aviation and shipping - purely on economic grounds. Because the sheer cost of H2 could cripple that segment of the market.
There may also be a case to be made to use H2 as an energy storage medium when there is an excess production problem. A nice problem to have of course and it could solve the 'use it or lose it' conundrum from time to time. But then again, advances in battery storage systems are starting to make even that less attractive.
I expect that the fossil fuel lobby will not let this drop any time soon. And much depends on how naive government planners are to these approaches.