Electrified Vehicles: Battery or Hydrogen

Electrified Vehicles: Battery or Hydrogen


Over the next 30 years we will see automobiles fully electrify. Gas emissions produced by traditional cars are poisoning the air that we breathe: in big cities the situation is critical. We need to change, and electrified vehicles is the solution. But which one: Battery or Hydrogen?

electrified vehicle

Electric cars future

Energy efficient, battery-powered cars will, by 2025, be cheaper to buy than conventional, gasoline-powered cars.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance recently reported that the price of the zero emission cars is largely due to falling battery costs. The report says that “batteries currently account for about half the cost of EVs, and their prices will fall by about 77 percent between 2016 and 2030.”

Automaker Renault predicts ownership costs of electric vehicles will, by the early 2020s, equal that of conventional gas-powered vehicles.

The report also noted that by 2025 14% of new car sales, or 100 million electric cars globally, will be electric vehicles.

For fleet operators, this is good news. In 2014, greencarreports.com reported that electric vehicle fleets could save operators an average of $16,000 each, compared to the traditional vehicles over a service life of seven years. Now, the cost savings is clearly larger.

One of the challenges, however, with electric vehicles is total energy demand. The energy demand created by fully charging an electric vehicle (EV) can be as high as total domestic electricity consumption for one household, albeit more concentrated over particular periods of the day as well as geographical areas.

The latest study by McKinsey* et al (Electrifying insights: How automakers can drive electrified vehicle sales and profitability) claim around 2030 or so, EVs will be price competitive with conventional cars, which was based on sound data. 

Electrified Vehicles

The report states that consumer demand is starting to shift in favor of slightly. While more than 20 per cent of new car shoppers think about buying a new battery-powered electric car, less than 0.5 per cent actually does buy.

There is still a battery barrier.

The 2016 estimated pack cost of ~$227/kWh means that a 60 kWh battery becomes a $13,600 component of the car. We may have to wait between 2025 and 2030, when battery pack costs fall below $100/kWh, creating financial headwinds for Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) automakers.  That’s a cost saving of $5,000 per car. 

Relying on increasingly large lithium ion batteries to assuage range anxiety is not a practical long-term solution to eliminating greenhouse gases. Electric-powered automobiles are not a bad idea; pure battery-powered BEVs are a bad idea.

electrified vehicles

It’s going to take more than just cheap lithium ion to bring about the end of the internal combustion engine.  Building an infrastructure to service this type of technology when there are quicker and more efficient recharging models available is a monumental waste of money.

Electric cars future

Hydrogen vs. Electric: Which is actually more efficient?

As for running costs, experts estimate that 500 km of hydrogen-fueled motoring will cost about US$30, about the same — at current prices — as the same trip in a gasoline-fueled subcompact. That is still, as Tesla owners loudly proclaim, more than the $10 of electricity a modern EV requires for the same trip. More importantly, it’s probable that electricity will always be cheaper than hydrogen.

Indeed, in the long run, the battle between battery- and fuel cell-powered vehicles may come down to a simple case of efficiency (BEVs) versus convenience of the hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicle (HFCs). Remember: the cost of replacing an BEV battery can be very high, with many estimates ranging around $5,000 or more while the fuel cell actually degrades over time: about 10% performance after about 75,000 miles, which isn’t bad: depending on usage that translates to 5-10 years.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell (HFC) cars, which are a cleaner solution than gasoline, diesel or natural gas, are also perceived to be a good bridge between fossil fuels and full electric because:

  • The mileage you can get out of hydrogen is perceived to be more adequate than what you get from batteries
  • Hydrogen fuel cells are thought not to wear out as quickly as batteries
  • Hydrogen as a fuel is perceived to be a relatively small infrastructural change from gasoline and diesel
  • Unlike BEVs that take anywhere from 20 minutes to overnight to fully recharge, the Mirai’s two hydrogen tanks can be refueled in as little as three to five minutes.

On a full tank of hydrogen, Toyota says, there’s enough energy to power the average US home for about a week. The HFC car will safeguard home electricity.

 Funding for fuel station construction, at an average of about $1.5 million per station, is being provided by grants from California’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle. Last year the California Energy Commission allocated $50 million to build a further 28 hydrogen fueling stations. On the east coast, Toyota is partnering with Air Liquide to build 12 hydrogen stations. Toyota is urging the other two hydrogen-vehicle providers, Hyundai and Honda, to invest in stations, too. A full-service station would need pumps that dispense fuel at 10,000 psi or 5,000 psi. BMW had built a small fleet of 7 Series sedans running on liquid hydrogen, which required a different infrastructure. There are over 700 stations worldwide today.

Electrified Vehicles

Hydrogen fuel cell Toyota Mirai cruises 300 miles, costs $45KThe list price is $57,500. Federal and state incentives of $13,000 could get the price down to less than $45,000. You get free hydrogen for three years. The fuel cell components are warranted for eight years or 100,000 miles. Still, the technology will advance quickly so leasing may be a better deal: $3,650 down, $500 a month for 36 months.

 Battery cars are technically feasible, but very expensive and heavy.  The battery-powered Tesla Model S is about $80,000. BEVs also require a large volume of batteries containing highly toxic materials that become hazardous waste each time a battery must be replaced. 

Electric cars future

You can’t charge a BEV below 20% or above 80%, can’t DC charge to prevent damaging the battery from heat, can’t park it long period of time because it uses energy to keep the battery at optimal temperature ,and you have to wait at least 30 min to refuel.

Electrified Vehicles

The debate is not only about cars, it is also about vans, bus, trucks and trains, which will be the first industry to change. Amazon will soon be using hydrogen fuel cell forklift trucks in 11 warehouses.

Look toward the long term

This hydrogen based technology is well on its way even though many new technologies seemed limited and doomed to fail when they were first developed. The railroad was a folly, until it wasn’t. Air travel wasn’t possible, until it was. Horses were better than the automobile, until they weren’t. In 1917 nobody believe that you would have oil station everywhere nor that you would have gas pipes going to virtually any house.

Human ingenuity has a way of proving its doubters wrong, and the electric car’s problems are by no means permanent. Like all other problems, they’re just waiting to be solved.

Electricity is relatively cheap, but hydrogen fuel is pretty expensive. Right now, state-of-the-art hydrogen extraction from natural gas, pressurized and delivered to the customer, costs about $4.50 for a gallon of gasoline equivalent (GGe). There is no need to produce hydrogen from natural gas.

We have to agree that low priced electricity and Hydrogen going to be energy carrier for future. Were every vehicle to run on hydro power, you also need to build hundreds of additional power stations to supply the energy needed.

Hydrogen requires so MUCH LESS infrastructure. Hydrogen as a fuel is easy to produce by hydrolysis and can be made as needed: NO pipelines or tanker trucks are needed.

 Hydrogen is already a $160 billion USD market worldwide. Only low cost energy systems like HUG may provide the huge capacity needed, especially on islands and remote areas that have little access to hydro power dams.

 The solution to stalemated climate politics is technological innovation that can make clean energy cheap enough for the poor to afford: the HUG.

What is holding renewable energy back?

The BP Statistical Review of Global Energy in 2015 showed renewables provided only 2.4 percent of total worldwide energy needs, hydroelectric power generated 6.8 percent and nuclear came in at 4.4 percent.

 Wind and solar can only generate intermittent electricity, while nuclear and hydroelectric energy face significant social and environmental resistance.

An important component for a cleaner future is grid modernization: the mini electrical grid of the future will have to be added for renewable energy.

Electrified Vehicles

Wave power doesn’t get much attention, but technologies for extracting energy from ocean motion could end up following the same growth curves that we have seen for wind and, more recently, solar power. A theme among wave power experts is that wave energy is where wind energy was three decades ago.

HUG Wave Energy System


Overtopping Device
Overtopping Device

The closest concept to the HUG Wave Energy System is the Wave Dragon overtopping device as shown above. The difference is that the above system is built like a large heavy ship so as not to be jostled by strong waves. Their system does not use the physics of the slab wave and the  principle of the vortex, which creates much higher velocity. Hence,  in order to maximize the velocity of the waves, they are forced to place their system in the location of high waves, which may not be a convenient location. 

The HUG can be located in places with average ocean waves close to populations:

There have been a lot of wasted efforts in solving wave energy problems because of wrong pathways: too big, too mechanical.  There have been no real great commercial successes. This may be the real reason why big companies like GE have not entered into the fray.

  • Besides providing electricity, the HUG Wave Energy System can produce hydrogen, which is less expensive than imported oil to the islands and is more environmentally sustainable. The secret of hydrogen electrolysis is the low cost of electricity, which must be kept under $0.05/kWh. The high cost of transmission of hydrogen can be eliminated by building hydrogen filling stations for automobiles and trucks right at the site of HUG Wave Energy System: the frontage on shore ranges up to 280 m.HUG Artificial Reef Electriicity
  • Besides providing electricity, the HUG Wave Energy System can provide fresh water from an electrolysis system that is activated by high pressure water: a Reverse Osmosis Desalination process. Typical operating costs will range from $2/Kgal of fresh water, because of the low price of electricity: $0.01/kWh
  • Wherever there are surfers on any island or in any ocean going country, you can create electricity.  Around the coasts of Northern Ireland and the west coast of Scotland, are some of the richest reserves of renewable energy in Europe, with the strongest winds and the largest waves.  
  • The HUG Artificial Reef will provide safe surfing on great slab waves over 200′ long close to population centers in a tourist area without the danger of sharp rock formations and urchins.

HUG Slab Wave


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