by Kieran McVeigh
This weekend as I zoomed along the ten freeway passing thousands of cars I found myself wondering what happened to Hydrogen fuel cars that in the early 2000’s were heralded as the next big thing. A late January article in Bloomberg technology gave me my answer, hydrogen fuel cells cars are alive and well. Many car manufacturers are preparing to or have already rolled out commercially available hydrogen fuel cars but these cars face major logistical hurdles because of the lack of available hydrogen fuel stations.
With the introduction of Toyota’s Mirai, hydrogen fuel cell cars became commercially available in 2016, however Hydrogen comes at a price as a Mirai starts at about 60,000 dollars. Toyota currently only makes 3,000 Mirai a year so if demand and production ramp up this price will likely decrease. The major hurdle more then the relative expense of hydrogen fuel cell cars is the lack of network of filling stations. California leads the way with a total of 100 hydrogen fuel stations. Hydrogen fuel manufacturers insist that government subsidies are necessary for hydrogen fuel infrastructure to be completed, saying the costs of creating hydrogen fuels stations currently outweigh the benefits. As the all-too familiar problem surrounding global warming of how to get people take responsibility for our planets wellbeing when it will cut into their pocket books.
With the Trump administration officially having taken office in January of 2017, there seems to be little hope of establishing the infrastructure necessary to make hydrogen fuel cars a viable way to combat the emissions of greenhouse gases in the US. Although the assistance of the US government for hydrogen fuel cell cars seems unlikely, there are still some rays of hope. The governments of both the UK and Germany are investing in the creation of hydrogen filling stations to support the growth of hydrogen cars. Also eight privately owned car manufacturers and energy companies have banded together into an alliance to promote the increased use of hydrogen fuel cars. Will these new initiatives be enough to put hydrogen cars into gear? Only time will tell.
Lippert, John. “5 automakers form hydrogen alliance with energy, transport giants.” Automotive News. N.p., 18 Jan. 2017. Web. 23 Jan. 2017.
Ma, Jie. “Toyota Chairman Says Fuel-Cell Cars Need More Time to Catch On.” Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, 19 Jan. 2017. Web. 23 Jan. 2017.
Wall, Matthew. “Hydrogen, hydrogen everywhere…” BBC News. BBC, 26 Mar. 2015. Web. 23 Jan. 2017.
Woodyard, Chris. “Review: Toyota Mirai dresses up, but hard to fill up.” USA Today. USA Today, 11 Dec. 2015. Web. 23 Jan. 2017.