Both electric and hydrogen cars are critical for the future

Hydrogen fuel cell

Hydrogen fuel cells

For maximum energy efficiency, both transmissions have their place, says Riversimple founder

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and hydrogen-powered vehicles should sit next to each other in the future for maximum energy efficiency, according to one expert.

Uh-huh Spowers, founder of Riversimple, who hopes to launch its first hydrogen car in 2022, said: “Hydrogen and electricity as two parallel vectors gives us the best energy efficiency. Some requirements are better met by BEVs and some by hydrogen. We need both of these technologies, we don't argue over solar or wind turbine energy gain races.”

He explained: “Electricity and hydrogen complement each other. You can make electricity more efficiently from some sources and hydrogen more efficiently from others. For example, generating electricity from wind is much more efficient than hydrogen. But when there is excess wind, you cannot store electricity, but you can store hydrogen. On the other hand, hydrogen is more efficient to produce from biogas than electricity.

“There are pros and cons to both. Hydrogen makes more sense for longer lasting vehicles or commercial vehicles, while BEVs make more sense for cars. The efficiency advantage of how you mix it.”

BEVs currently represent 1,4% of the UK new car market, while hydrogen is negligible. At the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexus, only hydrogen-powered vehicle sales are currently available, while only 18 state-owned gas stations are on site.

However, many manufacturers are running hydrogen-powered vehicles running in the background, although electrification is a higher priority.

Elena Lis, Electric and Connect Boss at PSA Group, speaking at the same Auto Futures event, added: “Ultimately, our [TC] platforms were built for hydrogen for the long term.” She added that consumer perception of hydrogen vehicles remains a barrier along with infrastructure, and that PSA believes hydrogen is a much better fit for light commercial vehicles.

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