Cars: Fuel cell Vs Electric

Electric car-makers like Tesla, are constructing mega factories for mass production of Li-ion batteries to reduce the price of cars. On other hand Japanese companies are investing heavily on hydrogen Fuel cell technology. This race is not about who will come first, rather who will sustain in global market finally. Presently and decisively Electric vehicle driven by Li-ion batteries are leading the trend with reduction in battery pack price and increase use of solar energy. Electric vehicles made lot of improvement in recent time. Much of it can be attributed to Tesla-first electric car-maker who took concept of electric cars much seriously than any other car-maker. They set very high standard for electric cars and make much needed improvement to compete with traditional IC engine cars running on gasoline. Charging time reduced from hours to several minutes. Mileage too increased considerably. All these improvement made Electric Vehicle ( EV) a better solution to IC engine causing pollution. EV do not cause air or sound pollution and they are safe car. However, they need electricity to charge batteries. Sometimes electricity is produced by burning coal, which again cause pollution. Solar power is a workable solution. However, with present efficiency of solar cell, it will be difficult to fulfill future domestic demand. Thus, electric vehicles are not the best solution for future in developing countries where managing domestic electricity demand is a challenge.

In future, people will prefer car with inbuilt energy powerhouse. A car, which can run longer than normal electric vehicle and IC engine without creating pollution and have a safe quick re-filling. As soon as hydrogen or any other fuel cell meet these criteria then that will be the turning point in history of Fuel cell vehicle (FCV). At present, peoples are concern about safety of using hydrogen as fuel. Of course, electric vehicle are safest compared to FC and IC engine. Nevertheless, with advancement in technology, fuel cell will become safer than IC engine, which we used for decades. The biggest obstacle for fuel cell cars is filling station, which require lot of money in establishment. Without filling stations, no one will buy such cars. Slowly but surely as filling station will increase, demand for FCV will increase too. With improvement in technology and mass production, price of cars fitted with Fuel cell will decrease considerably.

As we have saying, “Slow and steady wins the race” it is possible that future belongs to Fuel cell Vehicle. Batteries are temporary solution. If we find a way to fill a vehicle directly from hydrogen cylinders then we can cut off expansive filling station requirement too.Normally a FCV requires 35-90 MPA pressure. In market, cylinders are available up to 90MPa as well. We only need a hose pipe with connector to fill the Car tank. Some innovative ideas required to make FCT a feasible reality. Japan is investing hugely to make improvement in fuel cell. Only future will tell which technology will pass the test of time.

(Edited and revised version of previous post)

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Cars fitted with Hydrogen fuel cell is better solution than Electric Vehicle in India :

Search for clean fuel for automobile took us to two different directions: one towards Electric vehicle which uses lithium-ion batteries and charging ports and another is hydrogen cell which use hydrogen from filling station. Both are clean solution. Electric vehicle has no effluents and Hydrogen cell cars produce water. But the most important difference is that for electric vehicle we have to first produce electricity using other sources, some of them may not be renewable like coal and thus still cause pollution. So basically we are just shifting problem from one place to another. In developing countries where we do not have enough electricity for 24 hours supply in cities forgets about villages, adding more consumption will be disaster. If electricity will be cheaper than petrol (which seems likely in few years) when use in automobiles, for economic reason people’s will buy electric vehicles. Electric cars are far better than combustion engine cars and have less maintenance. Thus there will be huge increase in demand of electricity in future. Big question is how we will manage the increasing demand of electricity when we are already short of supply?

Hydrogen fuel cell is the solution. Already many countries started using hydrogen fuel cell. It is a proven technology. Instead of electric charging station we have to build hydrogen charging station. No more infrastructures required! No burden on electricity production. No need of batteries. Japan is producing and paving the way for hydrogen cell vehicle. Japan, Germany and US are increasing hydrogen filing station. UAE also opened its first hydrogen filling station. Though this technology is expensive but is the real solution of pollution. With tie and more and more use of this technology it will become cheaper and better.