China’s Father of Electric Cars Says Hydrogen Is the Future

June 14th, 2019

I doubt it, due to the hassles related to producing and storing hydrogen and the near total lack of hydrogen refueling infrastructure.

Toyota’s deranged pursuit hydrogen, despite all the obstacles, has caused it to look like a chicken running around with its head cut off as the industry pivots to battery electric. Toyota has been quietly researching solid state batteries, but that technology is a minimum of four to five years away. They can’t afford to wait.

So, that’s the state of things at Toyota, the global leader in fuel cell passenger vehicles.

Lithium ion has problems, but this is very much a case of better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.

All of that said, if some wildcard technology, such as artificial photosynthesis, becomes truly viable… Who knows?

In that case, my guess is that hydrogen would work better at utility scale as an energy storage system to handle excess production from wind and solar. Even if there was some sort of massive improvement in hydrogen production efficiency, for passenger vehicles, you would still have problems with storing it and a lack of delivery infrastructure.

In summary:

Hydrogen for direct use in vehicles: Doubt it.

Hydrogen for grid scale energy storage: Maybe.

Via: Bloomberg:

His vision to make China an electric-vehicle powerhouse revolutionized the global auto industry, cementing a move away from the combustion engine. Now, Wan Gang says get ready for the next game-changing moment.

The world’s biggest car market is set to embrace hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles the way it did EVs, Wan, who’s been called the father of China’s electric-car movement, said in a rare interview in Beijing on June 9.

A former Audi executive who went on to become China’s science-and-technology minister, Wan convinced leaders two decades ago to bet on the then-untested technology of vehicle electrification, selling it not only as a way to boost economic growth but also to tackle China’s dependence on oil imports and its mounting levels of pollution. His strategy — using government subsidies to bring carmakers and drivers on board — made China home to one of every two EVs sold globally today.

And now it’s hydrogen’s turn, Wan said.

“We should look into establishing a hydrogen society,” said Wan, 66, who’s now a vice chairman of China’s national advisory body for policy making, a role that ranks higher than a minister and gives him a voice in the nation’s future planning. “We need to move further toward fuel cells.”

That means the government will commit resources to developing such vehicles, he said. While China plans to phase out the long-time subsidy program for the maturing EV industry next year, government funding for fuel-cell vehicles may stay in place to some extent, Wan said.

2 Responses to “China’s Father of Electric Cars Says Hydrogen Is the Future”

  1. Loveandlight Says:

    The two biggest problems with hydrogen are 1) storing it properly is so difficult because it’s a gas that is the smallest molecule in existence and 2) the vast majority of hydrogen that exists is bound to other elements because it’s in this molecules nature (a single proton accompanied by a single electron) to be highly predisposed to bind with other elements.

  2. tm Says:

    I’m not exactly a Prius fanboy, so I don’t keep up with them that closely. But I’ve heard that Prius sales really aren’t doing that well these days, because it seems that to replace the battery/generator on one of those, they’ve got to take the engine apart to get to it and it costs over $4000! So much for the hype of saving money driving a Prius.

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