'Why hydrogen is losing the race to power cleaner cars'

’ In 2023, global sales of battery electric vehicles topped 10 million, plus about 4 million plug-in hybrids. In that same period, only about 14,000 fuel-cell vehicles were sold worldwide.

That means for every hydrogen-powered vehicle sold, 1,000 battery-powered ones were hitting the road. And the gap is widening, with EV sales growing by around a third in 2023 and sales of fuel-cell vehicle shrinking by roughly the same percentage.’

Some of the reasons offered in this article:


One could make a similar comparison between the number of charging locations for EVs and places to refuel with hydrogen.

Just a couple problems with H2 for cars… no doubt soon to be solved. Just need to change physics and economics. Then it’ll be just fine.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.


When electricity is cheap, hydrogen is cheap. When the electricity comes from no fuel sources “cost” is mostly cost of finance. Accounts can do wonders with that.

Cost becomes a fuzzy number. Maybe more of a guess than a fact.

Making H2 is just one part of the problem. You are aware of that.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

Suppose you decided to build a new plant on a green field to make automatic transmissions. What would be the cost of those automatic transmissions?

Much depends on how you allocate costs and how many transmissions will be produced over the life of the plant. Again the numbers are fuzzy.

Transmissions do not escape their box or explode if exposed to environmental static, sparks or flames in the same way as hydrogen, however.

Well, maybe they might in some futuristic nano tech way…

Dissolving semi truck and trailer

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And those driving hydrogen fueled vehicles rarely get electrocuted.

The same is true of those driving EVs.

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Idiot at gas station won't put out cigarette, so attendant uses fire extinguisher - boing - Boing Boing BBS

In the march of false equivalences, we will continue to have general public issues for all energy delivery methods.

The challenges, risks and occurrences will likely not be the same, however.

Hydrogen delivery continues to be challenged because of the pressure involved. This one key difference matters a great deal around infrastructure design and the ongoing maintenance of the same over decades (an obvious requirement of any infrastructure).

Make it very complex (safe) and people won’t deal with it. Make it simple but NOT safe (idiot proofing incomplete or not done at all), and we will have stories about more “freakish gasoline fight accidents”

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Every new technology requires adjustment. Smart people think about the issues and design systems to deal with them. Media plays hell with this stuff. And users gradually adapt.

We went through this with unleaded gasoline and then with ethanol in gasoline. Same game all over again but different details.


I would love to see the final statutory language in the regulations for hydrogen fuel system delivery at consumer point of use.

I’m hard pressed to see that we would see wide-spread distribution without a specialist (trained human, or engineered process) if fuel is transferred from container to container.

For hydrogen tanks, this will severely limit expansion due to economic concerns.

For hydrogen generating fuel cells, this is not a consideration as no fuel is transferred in commercial quantity outside of the vehicle.

Automate the complete process. Every H2 vehicle required to be able to use a specified automated fueling system. Every H2 fueling station must offer all approved H2 approved fueling systems approved by a body that governs this portion of the fueling process.


Do you think the neighbors will mind this emergency flare stack at the back of the property?

And then the cost as a barrier to installing the infrastructure becomes the economic limitation - again.

Also, I can’t wait to see the “standard port” as a feature on every vehicle sold.

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Re: automate the hydrogen fuel process.

Do you have a propane tank on your barbeque? Is that automated enough? Safe enough?

Re: standard port.

Gas caps on most vehicles are pretty standard. Nozzle size is always the same.

EVs are following the Tesla style for recharge connectors.

Standards take a while but are common in many systems.

Re: hydrogen fuel

There are proposals to crack ammonia to hydrogen (and nitrogen) as required. Ammonia is much easier to store and transport. It liquifies under pressure much as propane does.

And ammonia is widely distributed for fertilizer use. Hence starting distribution network including pipeline is already in place.

High odor makes undetected leaks unlikely. But can be toxic when inhaled. Rarely a problem when escape is possible but can be fatal if trapped.