An empty open road

Hydrogen cars – all hype or a viable alternative to electric vehicles?


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Once little more than a concept at automotive trade shows, hydrogen cars are about to become a reality on our roads, says the Guardian.

The first mass production vehicles have arrived on Britain's roads with Hyundai and Toyota leading the charge. Honda has promised to launch its first hydrogen car in the UK during 2017.

Hyundai's manager of sustainable fuel development, Robin Hayles, said the vehicles emit no CO2, NOx or particulates.The only emissions out of the back of the car is water, either as water vapour or droplets,he commented.

"You have the advantages of petrol and diesel in terms of range, performance and refill times, and the advantages of an electric vehicle: zero emissions, very smooth to drive, and instant torque."

Hydrogen cars are likely to be favoured by taxi firms looking to advertise their green credentials. Some organisations have already 'dipped their toe' in the water-emitting vehicles – such as Transport for London, which has purchased eight hydrogen buses for use along one of its routes.

An open country road with breaking sunlightThe challenge now is widescale adoption, says the Guardian.

At present, the cost is prohibitive to mass take-up: the first hydrogen cars cost around twice as much as most of the electric cars with which they are competing, even after an EU-funded £15,000 grant.

They also cost a similar amount to refuel as conventional cars – whereas "pure electric" cars cost about a quarter of the cost of petrol and diesels per mile travelled.

Nearly 7,000 electric cars have been registered in the UK this year.

Hydrogen backers, however, say that the cars' range and quick refuelling will mean they win out against their battery-based rivals in the end.

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