Hydrogen or battery? VW establishes his focus on battery E cars

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Hydrogen or battery? VW establishes his focus on battery E cars-establishes

The production start of the ID.3 raises the question of the most advisable drive technology: battery or hydrogen? Volkswagen explains in a current contribution, where according to the current state, the decisive advantages of the E-drive against the fuel cell. And why the manufacturer consists of the decision to consistently promote e-mobility for correct.

For weeks and months, yes, among politicians and experts, in media and social forums the question is discussed: it is correct, electromobility decided and consistently advanced? Or should automakers not rely more on other alternative drive technologies, especially the hydrogen-based fuel cell technology?

Hydrogen or battery? VW establishes his focus on battery E cars-establishes

The Volkswagen Group’s decision is clear: As a large volume manufacturer, it is focusing on battery-powered electric cars for a broad target group – even if Group Research is continuing to explore fuel cell technology and Audi has announced a hydrogen-powered vehicle for 2021. However, the turnaround in mobility must take place in large volumes – if only for the sake of climate protection and the Paris Agreements. In just a few years, Volkswagen plans to sell more than a million electric vehicles a year.

Hydrogen makes sense in cars?

The current facts prove Volkswagen right. prof. Maximilian Fichtner, Deputy. Director of the Helmholtz Institute Ulm for Electrochemical Energy Storage and recognized expert in hydrogen research, told Wirtschaftswoche that the “very poor energy efficiency well-to-wheel” of fuel cell cars ensures that battery-powered electric cars are “several times more efficient “ be. Fichtner continues: “I am not at all against hydrogen as an energy storage medium. You just have to use it where it makes sense – and that’s not in the car, but in the stationary area.”

Volker Quaschning, Professor for Regenerative Energy Systems at the HTW Berlin, shares this assessment. According to Quaschning, in order to produce hydrogen cars in large quantities, numerous countries would have to import regenerative hydrogen, which is hardly feasible in the near future. In addition, the hydrogen solution will ultimately be more expensive than the battery variant because of the high energy losses.The climate footprint of the two vehicle variants, on the other hand, “hardly differs in the end.Quaschning’s conclusion: It is very likely that hydrogen will be used “especially in vehicles with high daily mileage”. “The normal car for average applications will very likely be a battery car in the future. There are no environmental disadvantages as a result.”

“Automotive Industry 2035 – Forecasts for the future”

Fichtner’s and Quaschning’s positions coincide with the results of the study “Automobile Industry 2035 – Forecasts for the Future”, in which the management consultancy Horváth & Partners recently had a detailed examination carried out to determine whether battery-powered or hydrogen-powered e-cars will prevail in the future. The study was created over a period of six months, accompanied by 80 people/interview partners and financed by the management consultancy itself. “The main reason for our investigation was that Horváth & Partners serves many clients in the automotive supply industry. Of course, they want to know what they have to prepare themselves for in the next 10 to 15 years,” said Dietmar Voggenreiter, who headed the study.

The study first undertakes an analysis of the reasons for purchase. Why should customers switch to electric cars? A two-phase model is currently the most likely, they say: the “push phase” and the subsequent “pull phase”.

In the push phase from now until around 2023/2025, manufacturers will push e-mobility. The main reasons are the strict CO2 standards. Added to this are the initially high investment costs. Both mean that purchase incentives have to be set in order to bring electric cars onto the market. In the subsequent pull phase up to 2030 and above all up to 2035, e-cars will also become financially more interesting for customers.

Because with the introduction of the Euro 7 standard, the combustion engines are becoming more expensive, and the purchase price delta compared to electric cars is falling. This development is also reinforced by the fact that a CO2 tax – no matter how detailed it may be designed – makes fossil fuels even more expensive.

“Rational reasons will trigger large economies of scale in e-mobility”

At the same time, many customers experience the consumption cost advantage compared to petrol and diesel as very positive (more so in countries with lower electricity prices than in Germany). This cost advantage is supplemented by lower service costs: Because the electric car has fewer service-relevant components such as oil and petrol filters than a combustion engine, less maintenance and repairs are required. And: The costs for oil and lubricant changes are completely eliminated.

Overall, the study shows that fuel costs are around 400 to 600 euros lower and service costs are 200 to 400 euros lower per year, depending on the model. A price advantage of 600 to 1000 euros in just twelve months is very interesting for consumers. “There will come a time, and fairly quickly, when rational reasons will trigger large economies of scale in e-mobility,” says Voggenreiter from Horváth & Partners

Range anxiety and fast charging as key factors

In addition, however, there are the emotional issues: fear of range and fast charging. Both, the authors of the study are convinced, will be solved and will then no longer slow down the spread of electric cars in the pull phase from 2023/2025. The ranges will increase, and more charging points and quick charging stations will minimize the fear of breaking down.

Finally, the discussion about the actual CO2 savings: Because the electricity used to manufacture electric cars is still “dirty”, at least not green everywhere, an electric car today brings a comparatively large “rucksack” with it when it is produced. Investigations calculate that it is only after more than 100.000 kilometers in total (production and operation) saves more CO2 than a combustion engine. According to the study, this will also change in the coming years in favor of e-cars: With more green electricity in the production of e-cars and batteries, this “initial rucksack” will gradually become smaller, and the e-car will save more CO2 more quickly.

Horváth & Partners have also taken on board the criticism from many hydrogen advocates that they should take into account the so-called dark lull in battery operation. The dark lull means the time when power generation is not possible due to darkness and/or no wind. For this purpose, a corresponding additional requirement was added to the primary energy requirement of the battery.

A question of efficiency

The most interesting part of the study remains: Which energy has the best efficiency and is the most cost-effective to power electric cars: battery or hydrogen operation?

With battery-powered e-cars, only eight percent of the energy is lost during transport before the electricity is stored in the vehicle’s batteries. When the electrical energy is converted to drive the electric motor, another 18 percent is then lost. The battery-powered e-car thus achieves an efficiency of 70 to 80 percent, depending on the model.

Hydrogen or battery? VW establishes his focus on battery E cars-establishesVolkswagen

With hydrogen-powered e-cars, the losses are significantly greater: 45 percent of the energy is already lost in the production of hydrogen through electrolysis. Of the remaining 55 percent of the original energy, another 55 percent is lost when converting hydrogen into electricity in the vehicle. This means that the hydrogen-powered electric car only achieves an efficiency of 25 to 35 percent, depending on the model. For the sake of completeness: When burning alternative fuels, the effectiveness is even worse: only 10 to 20 percent overall efficiency.

“Dangerous hype” about hydrogen?

“In addition to the very real potential of green hydrogen, there is currently a dangerous hype,” warn experts from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) management consultancy in a new study quoted by the Handelsblatt. Also the Horvath&Partners study comes to the same conclusions here.

Instead of spending billions on the vision of a hydrogen society, investments in the promising technology should rather focus on applications in which they also make economic sense, the authors of the study conclude.

“We believe that there is great potential in pushing green hydrogen into applications where it can really take off in the long term. Above all in industry, but also in heavy goods, air and ship traffic,” says Frank Klose, co-author of the study.

Hydrogen or battery? VW establishes his focus on battery E cars-carsVolkswagen

The fuel cell has many advantages (range, fast refueling, no heavy battery on board) but one decisive disadvantage: It is comparatively inefficient – in terms of its efficiency and its costs. “No sustainable economy can afford to use twice the amount of regenerative energy to drive fuel cell cars instead of battery vehicles,” says study leader Dietmar Voggenreiter.

Hydrogen could only be used in niches, in trucks and buses, and over long distances. The battery weight, the range and the refueling time play a decisive role here. It increases extremely with increasing capacity, which then makes batteries uninteresting even for trucks. In addition, existing truck filling stations could be converted into a hydrogen filling station network with reasonable effort due to their lower number.

What are the costs for the consumer??

It is clear that hydrogen-powered e-cars will be more expensive than battery-powered vehicles, not only to buy, but above all to operate. The double primary energy requirement of hydrogen-powered vehicles compared to battery-powered vehicles will be reflected in consumer prices. Drivers already pay around nine to twelve euros per 100 kilometers for hydrogen-powered e-cars, but only two to seven euros per 100 kilometers (depending on electricity prices in the individual countries) for battery-powered e-cars very differently for their individual mobility.

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14 thoughts on “Hydrogen or battery? VW establishes his focus on battery E cars”

  1. The reasoning makes sense to me for cars that are supposed to drive 100 to maybe 300 km without recharging; The less the better. For 500 kilometers and more, the argument becomes weaker because that requires a battery of 600 to 1000 kg. So you always drive a battery with the weight of a small car with a walk. With a smaller battery (for Z.B. 150 km) and a fuel cell Range-Extender can be saved about 400 to 500 kg. I seem to me that these weight differences are never considered in the calculations.
    In a van, this effect occurs faster, with a truck even faster. I evaluate Z.B. Especially the purchase of a small camper vans. I almost can not imagine that the all necessary energy (also for climate, heating) in a battery with dragging. Electric with battery and Range extender, however, are very good, or. Would be almost ideal (waste heat for heating, …).

  2. Prof. Quaschning: The climate balance of both vehicle variants differ “in the end barely.”
    …………even though the energy consumption of hydrogen is significantly higher (due to lower efficiency) ?
    …………is the reason for the “CO2 initial rucksack” in battery vehicles ? … Is the difference between the batteries in hydrogen and battery vehicles so big ? Instead of “in the end hardly” one could perhaps give a number of kilometers (e.g.B. after 50,000 km the climate balance of battery vehicles is better).
    I would also like to have seen exactly how the CO2 balance is made up during the manufacture of the battery. Not least because of a possible comparison to the CO2 balance in the manufacture of a combustion engine (+ gearbox, etc.)

  3. I miss the consideration of the battery life in the considerations. It is well known that the performance of a battery decreases over time. Replacing the component is a significant cost factor. According to a BMW dealer, a new battery for a BMW i3 (currently) costs approx. 19.000.00 euros. Of course, this price is not representative and will be put into perspective in the future, but it also shows that this must be taken into account in the contributions.

  4. As a city car, I think the electric motors with batteries make perfect sense, there are just a few things that still need to be done:
    1. To convert and build the infrastructure accordingly, so that theoretically all users of e-cars can also use them during their stays (work, shopping, etc.).) can also load.
    2. The technology must be pushed much more forward so that the production of the batteries happens more efficiently, as well as afterwards the electricity that “feeds” the battery does not come from a lignite power plant – otherwise it’s all a milkmaid’s calculation.

    For long-distance vehicles, whether cars or trucks, the combustion engine will hardly be replaceable in the next few years. Point. No field salesman or career driver can just buy for loading either long service life, or on the fact that the loading points are free, if they are still in use by other users. Likewise, there is simply not enough lithium to supply any means of transport in the world with energy on this basis (as of today).

    So the focus should be on city traffic for the time being, possibly. will you have the technology in 10-20 years to also serve the large ranges and new storage media or. developed their base. And there you may be. then in the case of hydrogen also in a significantly more efficient position.

  5. Basically, I can still remember the series of experiments “how does hydrogen react with oxygen” at school..!
    An oxyhydrogen and long-lasting experience. And now I’m imagining something like that in traffic… or better not..?!?!

    If you follow the topic of e-mobility, I believe that we are in a start-up curve for a completely new mobility concept and each one now could now make his driving profiles and mobility requirements exactly on the test stand or should be better. The subject of “BEV” certainly does not solve the global CO2 challenge we are facing, but rather and primarily the challenge of the automotive industry (by 2030 – reduce CO2 emissions by 37%). But from my point of view, the “BEV” represents the best alternative to our conventional combustion engines. And will definitely turn our automotive world upside down in the long run. (Are you still refueling or are you already recuperating..?)

    I always appreciate the search for alternatives, as well as a certain variety of offers, but the market always regulates that too. By the way and just as a side note, nobody asks me anymore: Which is better, “VHS or BETA?’, ‘3.5 inch or 5 1/4 inch floppy disk?’, ‘CD or Blu-ray?’, let alone whether buying a cell phone or smartphone would be better.

    Gladly controversial, but also recognize and accept, in contrast to the ongoing resistance times very nice ..! Because if the range isn’t that waaay too small, then the battery weight is very quickly too much.

  6. Hydrogen could only be used in niches, in trucks and buses, and over long distances. niche? After all, 40% of emissions in the EU

    I am also I.i.R (Retired engineer-.) ) and find it amazing that H2 is referred to as a “drive”. For the compatriots-H2 is an energy carrier, and so we are on the subject, namely, why E-xxx at all?
    Well, here are some remarks:

    Instead of repeatedly emphasizing the “negative” aspects/problems of H2 in an almost mantra-like manner, it would be more sensible to point out that this focus on the efficiency advantage for BAT-EVs obscures the actual topic .

    What do you think is the motivation for EV of all kinds?(whether BAT or FCEV) ? Not a worldwide yes insignificant % (10?-20? )Reduction of greenhouse gas + fine dust (GHG/FS ) for urban car traffic, but a 100% elimination of TGH/FS both for the entire transport sector (i.e., car, truck, bus, tank, tractor, ship, train et Alia – the niches!) ) as well as for all consumers whose basic energy sources (steel, chemicals, aluminium, buildings etc.),, – which cause these GHGs.

    Once holistic H2 logistics is established for all other sectors, the inefficiency for the “niche” BEV urban cars becomes very obvious!
    Operating two separate and incompatible energy carrier infrastructures, one discrete and application-specific, i.e. BAT, and one holistic and application-independent – H2 , is, with all due respect, really nonsense. The same H2 filling station for buses and trucks can also be used for cars. The reverse is not possible!

    Thus, the efficiency argument for BEV urban cars is immaterial and irrelevant.

    There are problems, but they can be solved with confidence. Please support this aspect instead of beating it down.

    Rather, we should concern ourselves with know-how (and jobs!) to develop and promote , which establishes a GHG/FS-free energy carrier globally, which can play the holistic and universal bulk deployment role hitherto played by the combustion of hydrocarbons. I only know H2 (besides Atom) . If you know anything else, please go to Stockholm quickly.

  7. Very one-sided, superficial reasoning. The enormous demand for raw materials and the associated environmental and social problems of the batteries (in such masses) do not seem to matter. Well, it’s far away.
    And when it comes to efficiency: how do you charge when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing?? With coal, efficiency: 15%.
    Sorry, but what VW is doing here is pure advertising, nothing more. In 5 years it will be: Batteries are crap, now you have to buy them again, hydrogen is much better..

  8. A few notes that every investor should think about before making a decision.
    As always, what counts for success is cost-effectiveness and therefore also efficiency.
    Fanatics are good for getting things going, reality catches up with them at the latest in mass production.
    And nobody should forget one thing: battery research is only just beginning,
    the power-to-weight ratio per kW will be reduced, e.g. B. with the solid storage.
    As with a river, the flow meets the least resistance,
    swimming against the tide can lead to new insights and should not be demonized.

  9. citation?

    The headline and the first paragraph refer to a “current contribution”, where Volkswagen explains “where the decisive advantages of the electric drive compared to the fuel cell lie.”

    I’ve read the whole article multiple times now and I can’t find a link to this actual post, nor a list of the arguments that Volkaswagen makes in that post. The alleged “post” is only used as a hook, after which the article cites a great many other (good and useful) sources. However, these have nothing to do with the promised contribution from Volkswagen.

    If there is actually an article by Volkswagen where the group compares e-drive and hydrogen drive in a well-founded way, I would be very interested in a link.

    Or I’m just blind and didn’t find the place in the article. Then I would need a smack on the back of the head and a pointer to the spot.

  10. I am a Tesla Model 3 driver (Standard Range Plus)
    If I drive gently I consume less than 130Wh/km, if I drive more dynamically I get around 170Wh/km. I actually never drive fast, i.e. over 130 km/h, I’m not the fast driver type. On the other hand, I really like the fast acceleration.
    With my average energy consumption, I don’t see any reason for complaining about the battery weight. Of course, less mass is even more energy-efficient, but if you calculate 5 liters of petrol per 100 km (about 4 kg/100 km), you get around 440 Wh/km. 5 liters are already very economical and a combustion engine that corresponds to a Model 3 needs significantly more than 5 liters of petrol per 100 km.
    Despite their battery weight, electric cars beat combustion engines by far precisely because they are so efficient. As already mentioned, weight reduction is a fine and desirable thing, but there are already no problems with energy efficiency.
    Incidentally, the weight of my e-car differs insignificantly from that of the BMW 3 Series or the C-Class from Daimler or the A4 from Audi. After all, I don’t have a heavy cast engine block and no complicated gearbox and whatever else is attached to a combustion engine. The main thing is that you have something to complain about! Battery = Evil . It is not the weight that is primarily decisive, but the energy consumption and it is already super good, at least with the Model 3.
    Where are we today?? 10 years BEV vs. over 130 years of combustion engines. In the latter there is no longer any potential but hacking around on a technology that opens up worlds and which, although it is still young and already delivers very good results, would like to bury it. I live in a progressive country

  11. Yes, FCEVs may not be as efficient as BEVs when considering the energy losses from power generation to the wheel. This will improve as much as. even better battery technology.
    The environmental impact of lithium extraction is completely ignored. It is not at all possible to obtain lithium with the current methods in order to switch to BEVs worldwide without risking massive environmental damage.
    If Mr. Doessegger can always charge his Tesla in his private garage, that’s nice for him.
    He probably lives in a nice area with his own home and garage with a three-phase socket. But what about the millions of people who fight for a parking space every evening in the residential areas of the cities? Should they then use an extension cable from the kitchen window on the 14th floor?. Lower the floor to “privately” charge your vehicle overnight? How can you be so ignorant and only see the public charging infrastructure as a 2nd. Choice to designate as an emergency variant if BEVs are to become a mass market and very, very many people would be dependent on this public charging infrastructure?
    I also don’t know why there always have to be such posts that preach either-or. There will have to be both BEVs as city cars and FCEVs for people who want/need to refuel quickly and/or need/want longer ranges. The border between them will be found automatically, the market will take care of that, without all the preachers for one camp or the other.
    What we don’t need are the constant world explainers why FCEVs can’t work.

  12. Here, some e-car drivers forget that not everyone lives near a charging station or does not have their own home.
    Hydrogen may be less efficient, but it is much more flexible due to its transportability. The range can be flexibly designed thanks to the size of the tank.
    The area of application is also higher compared to pure battery e-mobility: heavy transport, shipping, aviation, public transport.
    Both technologies will definitely determine our mobility in the future, but hydrogen will probably play a more central role than purely via batteries..

  13. I am always amazed at the embellished efficiency chains in battery vehicles.
    Again, it is forgotten that the charging process takes approx. 20% energy is consumed and up to 20% is lost when unloading to the wheel.
    The overall efficiency is more like 50 to 60%. And only if it’s constantly 20 degrees warm. In heat and cold you lose even more. Based on the uncertainties drawn for the H2 chain, it is more likely that both come to a similar overall efficiency in practical operation.

  14. In the cities next to the high-rise rental buildings where most of the VW workers live, there aren’t even any parking spaces, where do you want to put charging stations there?.
    I don’t even want to imagine the chaos in the inner cities.
    I recommend taking a trip to StOcken-Hannover and looking at the fully parked streets.
    If you look around there, you will perhaps understand more than if you drive a Tesla to Rome
    moves. We are not looking for the solution for
    the top 10% can do it alone
    not save the climate.


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