Hybrid Cars versus Hydrogen Cars

December 19, 2014

imagesHydrogen cars have recently made a market entry and many may wonder whether they are better than hybrid cars. With respect to minimizing the emission of greenhouse gas, hybrid cars are still better in doing so. Additionally, hybrid cars cost less compared to hydrogen fueled vehicles. Hydrogen cars have at last emerged following several years of investigation and demonstrations. These cars utilize electric motors and generate electricity from hydrogen, which is a by-product of a chemical process that occurs within the fuel cell. Fuel costs are much lower now, thanks to engineers and researchers. In the past few years, the price has been reduced by as much as ninety-five percent. This, coupled with the need to abide by the regulations laws of California, is an indication that the market is finally embracing the technology.

Toyota has plans of launching Mirai, a hydrogen car in Japan before the end of this month. The company will do the same in the United States early next year. Other automakers such as Honda, GM and many more have also announced of their plans to manufacture hydrogen cars. Automakers have claimed that the new hydrogen car models are environmental-friendly. For instance, Hyundai’s advertisement of its new car shows that there is no carbon dioxide emission. Toyota on the other hand advertises that the hydrogen cars it manufactures emit water vapor and not greenhouse gases. It is however, essential to keep in mind that such ads can be deceptive.

While water vapor is indeed the only substance that is emitted by hydrogen cars, the hydrogen gas used to operate the cars is generated through a reaction that results in emission of considerable greenhouse gas. Eventually, hydrogen cars could get much cheaper and cleaner, thanks to emerging technologies. For instance, renewable electricity sources could be used for powering an electrolyzer to release hydrogen by splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen atoms. The major setback however, is that the process would still cost more in comparison to using natural gas to generate hydrogen. In the long term, catalysts that absorb solar energy and use it in splitting water may be engineered. If this is achieved, it will be much cheaper and simpler to generate hydrogen.

Hydrogen cars have a key advantage over hybrid cars in that, recharging them is easier and faster. For instance, it would only take 10 minutes to fully charge a tank for the Hyundai hydrogen car. Tesla’s electric car, on the other hand, known for having one of the fastest chargers would still take approximately 20 minutes.




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