The electric car could see its breakthrough this year. Against the background of stricter CO2 limits in the EU, numerous manufacturers are bringing new e-models onto the market. At the same time, the hydrogen car is repeatedly discussed as the supposedly better alternative – but often on the basis of half-knowledge and outdated figures, criticizes the VCD. From the point of view of the ecological transport club, hydrogen as a drive is not (yet) an alternative. Here are the main advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Hydrogen: Hydrogen cars are fuel cell cars. They have a longer range than electric cars. Because of the high energy density of hydrogen, they can cover longer distances on one tankful than a comparable e-car. This makes the fuel cell interesting for long-distance drivers or for freight transport with large and heavy trucks. Hydrogen cars also do not have to be charged for a long time, but can be refueled quickly within a few minutes. No pollutant emissions are produced during the operation itself. Only water comes out of the exhaust.
Disadvantages of Hydrogen: In order to power cars with hydrogen, it has to be produced from water using electrolysis and a great deal of energy. A study by the Agora Verkehrswende think tank shows that the overall CO2 emissions of a fuel cell car can be 75 percent higher than those of a comparable e-car – based on the average German electricity mix. The same amount of electricity with which a battery electric car can travel 100 km is only sufficient for a fuel cell car for 48 km, i.e. for less than half the distance.
The fuel cell car only has a climate advantage over the combustion engine if only green electricity is used in the production of hydrogen. That currently exceeds German capacities. Climate-neutral hydrogen-based fuels would have to be imported and production facilities set up.
The few models currently available, the small network of filling stations and the high costs also speak against the hydrogen car. There are currently only two fuel cell models on the market, prices start at 70.000 euros. The vehicles can be refueled at just 70 gas stations nationwide. Electric cars are already available from around 16.000 euros and more and more new models are coming onto the market. There is now electricity at around 24.000 public charging points, electric cars can also be charged at home or at work.
One kilogram of hydrogen costs about 9.50 euros and is enough for around 100 km. For 100 km in an e-car, about 4.50 electricity costs are incurred for charging. A comparison of the corresponding costs for petrol and diesel: With a consumption of 6 liters of petrol or. 5 liters of diesel currently 8.40 euros or. 6.70 euros.
“The environmentally friendly hydrogen car is still a dream for the foreseeable future, but not a real option. But we must not lose any time when exiting the combustion engine. Therefore, we should concentrate on the much more developed electric mobility. E-cars are the most efficient, cheapest and most climate-friendly solution for the passenger car sector. Thanks to the increase in the purchase premium, e-cars have now also become an affordable alternative for many consumers.“ — Michael Muller-GOrnert, transport policy spokesman for the VCD
In addition to the fuel cell, electricity-based fuels, so-called e-fuels, are also being discussed as a further drive option. They are also based on hydrogen. With the help of electricity, water is first split into hydrogen and oxygen. If CO2 from the air is added to the hydrogen, hydrocarbons are formed that have a structure similar to that of crude oil. Ideally – if only eco flow is used – when combustion then only as much CO2 comes into the atmosphere as it was previously deprived.
Disadvantages of E-Fuels: For the production of E-Fuels it needs an additional production step in which hydrogen is further processed in gaseous or liquid fuels. This additionally increases the energy requirement. Together with the low efficiency of internal combustion engines, the overall efficiency decreases again compared to electric car and fuel cell. With the electricity, which brings an electric car 100 kilometers far, a vehicle with E-Fuel is just 15 kilometers ahead. This also makes E-Fuels no real alternative to the E-car. Conceivable future areas of application are mainly means of transport that can not be equipped with electric drive. These include in particular air and ship traffic.
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3 thoughts on “Hydrogen, e-cars, e-fuels: Why the e-car is the best alternative”
The comparison is not complete:
I think today you can’t name a winner and you have to wait for the research.
Everything is still in development and so you have to let the market decide. The VW decision to rely only on battery is m.E. wrong because other manufacturers can do that much better. Europe no longer has a key technology that is recognized worldwide; a drive principle without primitive batteries is a possible candidate!
In itself a good contribution that has definitely influenced my thinking, but overall I miss the sustainability, the recycling/repair/replacement of the parts in the respective drive types. After all, it is quite difficult to repair or replace parts in electric cars and the recycling of batteries is quite difficult as they can hardly be recycled and are not environmentally friendly.
Battery-powered cars are and will remain an interim solution. Hopefully they will never become standard. The batteries are much too expensive to produce and the raw materials for them are limited and their production is not exactly environmentally friendly. Range will always remain an issue, as will long charge times and limited lifespans. You can’t tow a caravan with it either. So what are you supposed to do with a car like this?. I will never buy such a vehicle. I’d rather stick with an environmentally friendly diesel vehicle.