While some manufacturers see hydrogen as a great sustainable solution for “zero emission” mobility, others are at odds with this current of thought. Some even claim that it is not sustainable.
A new Financial Times report has highlighted the reluctance of several automakers to continue investing in hydrogen technology. This comes at the same time that the European Union is leading a campaign to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, a plan in which hydrogen is seen as a pillar. The report cites several European manufacturers moving away from hydrogen cars, including Volkswagen, Stellantis, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. However, the report notes that Asian automakers like Toyota and Hyundai continue to push for the adoption of hydrogen as an alternative fuel.
“You will not see any use of hydrogen in cars”Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess told the Financial Times. “Not even 10 years from now, because the physics behind it is so unreasonable. You cannot assemble and disassemble the fuel cell like a combustion engine. You also need another 10 kW battery, an electric motor and the fuel cell ». Meanwhile, Carlos Tavares, CEO of the Stellantis Group, has suggested that companies that develop hydrogen-powered vehicles are the ones that are lagging behind when it comes to battery and more conventional electric vehicles.
Bad news for hydrogen?
However, this is not bad news for the European hydrogen transport lobby. Renault believes that utility vehicles have great potential by adopting hydrogen. Renault’s head of alternative fuels, Philippe Prevel, aims to capture at least 30% of the hydrogen light commercial vehicle market. Prevel thinks trucks that need to achieve a range of over 300 km should look at hydrogen. Indeed, the weight of the batteries, added to the payload, is far too important for 100% electric heavy goods vehicles to make sense.
But Diess (Volkswagen owns the MAN and Scania brands) remains adamant about hydrogen, saying conventional battery power is the way to go whatever the weight. He says the high costs of hydrogen would triple the price per kilometer compared to an electric truck.